From Ben in Bolivia (Part 7)
I didn’t get round to blogging yesterday, I fell Ill at a meeting and made my way back to the hostel where I collapsed with a fever. I’m not exactly feeling better now but this is the first day of the conference so I am going to try to get out there.
I didn’t sleep much, what will the muscle cramps and the fact that a women was mugged outside my window. I awoke to her screaming. Cabs drove around the fight without intervening so I fumbled around in the dark for some clothes. I had no intelligent plan on what I’d do when I got out there and my hesitancy meant her attacker had moved off up the street by the time I was dressed. She sat crying in a doorway and the occasional passer by walked on without any inquiry. I couldn’t decide what to do and to my shame I eventually got back into bed where I lay awake feeling guilty for not doing anything.
Anyway, yesterday was the last day of the water forum and there was a lot of discussion about the so-called 18th table – an 18th working group which will look at issues within Bolivia. The discussion revolved around concerns that the existence of the 18th table would be misrepresented as being anti the conference and anti evo which is not the case.
I videoed a large part of the session in which they talked about the need to ensure these issues are heard (see http://qik.com/wpccc). Before the session there were rumours that there’d be a proposal to boycott the conference if the 18th table wasn’t recognised but in the end it turned out to be a proposal to produce a declaration which I’ve not yet seen.
In effect, the water forum provided a pre-conference platform for discussion of the road building, damn schemes, mining developments etc which are effecting people in Bolivia but are off the agenda for the climate conference.
There was also a meeting of Climate Justice Now which worked with Climate Justice Action on elements of the COP15 mobilisations. Additionally I attended a meeting to plan the ‘building bridges’ workshop which follows the open letter and discussion paper the the CJA. One of the aims is to look at how groups around the world can work together through initiatives such as the October 12th Days of Action in Defence of Mother Earth. I hoped to be able to feed in news from the Camp for Climate Action national gathering in the UK, as to whether they’d be supporting the day of action but that information hadn’t materialised by the end of the meeting.
Anyhow, today the conference begins with the first sessions of the 17 official working groups. Apparently there are 15,000 people expected to attend so I’d better hurry up and get down there as I’m in no condition to stand in a queue.