Climate Action Network Protests Exclusion of Friends of the Earth, Avaaz From Copenhagen Talks

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 16 Dec 2009 10:42:00 GMT

The Climate Action Network has issued the following letter to protest the removal of Friends of the Earth International, the largest grassroots environmental organization in the world, and Avaaz, the largest online activist organization in the world. Download the letter.

On behalf of Climate Action Network International, and our 500 member organizations, I would like to register our strong concern about the limited NGO access to the second week of the Copenhagen climate negotiations. In particular the removal of badges from Avaaz and Friends of the Earth International.

The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development affirms that “non-governmental organisations play a vital role in the shaping and implementation of participatory democracy.” Civil society has played a constructive and vital role in the climate negotiations since their inception. Civil society brings insight, oversight and connection to people around the world who depend on the work of NGOs to pursue the credibility of the process and integrity of the outcome.

Excluding civil society is not only inconsistent with UN Principles. It is profoundly counterproductive to the spirit of the conference and the practical value of its outcome. To launch the world toward a sustainable future, the process over the critical next few days must be accountable and transparent so that the result will have the power of broad ownership by all sectors. Nothing less than the full and active participation of civil society can produce such an outcome.

On Saturday more than one million people at four thousand events in one hundred and forty countries called for world leaders to agree a fair, ambitious and binding agreement at Copenhagen. One hundred thousand marched on the streets of Copenhagen. Environment and development groups provide a conduit for the world’s people to engage in the climate negotiations. And many of the world’s people will look to civil society to judge the outcome of Copenhagen. It is essential that civil society is allowed to participate in these negotiations.

I urge you to reinstate participants from Avaaz and Friends of the Earth International, and to ensure the plenary sessions are open to NGO attendance.

I am happy to work with you and your teams to ensure the full and fruitful participation of civil society in these historic talks.

Yours sincerely, David Turnbull Director Climate Action Network International

Download the letter.