CAN sticker

The Climate Action Network (CAN) is the Environmental NGO (ENGO) network in the UNFCCC. It has different daily activities such as the Fossil of the Day and the CAN Daily Meeting.

To enter the daily 2.00pm meeting, you’ll need a sticker proving that you are a CAN member. They even have a “sticker check” which the attendees will have to show before the meeting commences. I like the exclusiveness they have over there.

The meeting usually starts with updates from different work groups, followed by some strategy planning such as messages that we, as a network, want to deliver to other stakeholders such as ministers, negotiators and investors. The planning and guidelines look really awesome because it is detailed and comprehensive. Although the CAN members are from different organisations all over the world, they still cooperate and work together, and share information from different events to create a holistic view of the whole COP21.

The “Fossil of the Day”(FOTD) nomination will be closed at 2.30pm everyday. “Fossil of the Day” is an “award” for the country or countries that is/are reckoned to be blocking the progress of the climate discussion. So after several agendas, the CAN members will announced the nominated countries and reasons of them being nominated. The agenda on reporting and sharing will continue after that while a huddle (a small group debate) often be conducted outside of the room in order to pick the Fossil.

I joined one of the huddles during COP21, the one where the members discussed about crowning Malaysia as the “Ray of the Day” (opposite of FOTD) *excited*. From the discussion I get to know different views about Malaysia. The main reason of Malaysia being put forward for this honour is that the Malaysia voiced on behalf of the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) to urge the French presidency to increase the transparency of the negotiations by allowing civil society members to observe the meetings.

Some people supports the notion because they think that it will be a good way to “condemn” the exclusiveness of the French presidency and to push the Secretariat to be more democratic and get the NGOs involved. However, there are also some points opposing that idea: Malaysia suppresses media at home, it did not protect their mangrove properly, forests are given up for palm oil industry, it was voicing on behalf of LMDC and lastly, giving out a Ray for civil society’s own sake will ruin the credibility of the FOTD/ROTD.

In the end, Malaysia did not get the Ray; nevertheless it was lauded in an ECO (Newsletter published by CAN) article and walked away with a Honourable Mentioned in the “Fossil of the Day” ceremony.

I felt very proud when Malaysia was nominated to receive the Ray of the Day because it meant that Malaysia’s voice was remarkable and praiseworthy. I learnt that not only the effort in the international platform is important to have a good image, the endeavour in our own land plays significant role to leave a good impression. Seeing the CAN members who voiced out their opinions confidently with supporting facts during the huddle encourage me to be one of them in the future. I hope I can be knowledgeable enough to comment someday.

Written by Elaine