Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Yesterday some of the groups opened the conference by having their plenary sessions. The beginnings of the meetings can be as mind-numbing as any University-related meeting with the organizational matters and various housekeeping that needs to be done with any group. But after the initial introductions, approval of the agenda and points of order, that's when groups and countries have the opportunity to make general opening statements which can be fascinating to hear. In these opening statements you can hear what is important to the different players and how passionately they feel about it.

In the afternoon I attended the opening plenary of the Ad-hoc working group on long-term cooperative action (the aptly named AWG-LCA). This is the group that is charged with the actual implementation of Convention agreements, the sticky logistics that come with any complicated negotiation. Business is conducted very formally, whenever someone is speaking they normally make reference to Mr. Chairman (or Madam) every other sentence. There are few offhand comments or off the cuff remarks. However, it was actually funny when at one point during discussion of a semantic detail that didn't seem to make any difference the Chair of the group said very sarcastically, "may I welcome the presence of details in our midst."

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