by Floriana Polito
Meeting in front of the entrance of the Acora Hotel in Bonn with Philippe from Caritas Luxembourg and Francis from Caritas Bangladesh. Another day of frenetic negotiations and side-events organized by our NGOs colleagues are waiting for us. The tram, on the road to the Conference Centre, has become our “favorite” daily briefing venue where we share our thoughts on the ongoing climate change talks and where we organize our daily work plan. Our friends and partners from CIDSE, Cliona, Leah and Roeland travelled back to Brussels yesterday, but we are constantly in touch to decide the strategy, exchange the latest news on which governmental delegation or regional group said what.
Once arrived at the Maritm Hotel, the Conference venue, again I ran into what I call “a Geneva face”. Two colleagues from the NGO Friedrich Ebert Stiftung based in Geneva are here too to “struggle” for an equitable and effective global climate change agreement.
And as it has become a “good practice” here in Bonn, the first thing they did was to pass me the invitation to their side-event. I smiled… The competition among the organizers of side-events is high here. Everybody tries to capture the attention of the UNFCCC participants on its own side-event. We did the same and we succeeded.
State delegates, UN agencies, our NGO friends attended our CI-CIDSE side-event where we launched our joint report ‘Reducing Vulnerability, Enhancing Resilience – the Importance of Adaptation Technologies for the post-2012 UNFCCC agreement’. On that occasion Mr. Francis Atul Sarker, Development Director at Caritas Bangladesh, shared Caritas’ Bangladesh field experience on adaptation processes.
Mr. Sarker argued in favour the necessity of documentation of the knowledge and experience of the community people for knowledge creation and sharing the same to other communities. He also stressed the need for standardization of the locally practiced adaptation technologies for up-scaling and mainstreaming. Finally Mr. Sarker pointed out the need for time and flexibility in developing adaptation technology in collaboration with the community people.
I was then particularly impressed by what one of the panelists, Mr. Philip M. Gwage, Head of the Delegation of the Government of Uganda said. In highlighting that both action on adaptation and technology were an “undelivered promise”, he explained that this failure had to be attributed to the fact that “we” (the negotiators) have a “small heart”. And he added “it is thus good that Caritas is here among us, because Caritas is ‘Heart’ and we need to expand our hearts if we want to achieve a just and effective agreement”.
After his words, ‘From the Heart’, the title of our Operational Plan 2007-2011 came to my mind and recalled for me the reason why we, Caritas, were here in Bonn.
The plan comes from the heart of the confederation and reflects it’s laying foundations and Christian values. It is thus our responsibility to share with the international community – with the negotiators – our core values and our concern for the poor, and encourage them not only to “expand their hearts”, but also their political will to reach the consensus on an effective and strong climate change agreement.