DURBAN, South Africa (13 December, 2011)_He has over 1500 twitter followers and nearly 5000 Facebook friends and yet he is not your usual social media junkie or celebrity. Tony La Viña is a lead negotiator at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) facilitating the important issue of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).
Tony’s approach to the secretive and sensitive negotiations is one of more transparency and optimism, tweeting and posting constant updates on Facebook from the COP. He believes his role as the facilitator of the negotiations on REDD+ is not just about mediating the parties in the negotiating room but also to inform REDD+ stakeholders on the state of play from the negotiating table.
After late nights mediating disagreements between parties and party consultations throughout the day, Tony takes the time to consult with NGOs, indigenous groups and the private sector who all have a stake in the REDD+ agreement.
“I want to give you a briefing on the state of the negotiations on REDD+ finance,” he tells a group of private sector stakeholders in the short film below. “The reason I am doing this is because they are closed sessions and the parties have given me the mandate to update you on the negotiations.”
This year’s REDD+ negotiations played out around major issues on safeguards, reference levels and finance with the latter being the final sticking point where Tony needed to draw on his years of COP experience to mediate a deal.
“In REDD+, we crafted a package that included both market and non-market based approaches and which mainstreamed safeguards in finance,” he tweeted on the last day of the negotiations.
Tony allowed CIFOR to follow him during COP17 to get an insiders view on a day in the life of a REDD+ negotiator. In the film, Tony opens up about the oft-criticised process of climate negotiations and shows us what it was like in the final days leading up to an agreement on REDD+ in Durban.
Read an opinion piece by Tony about why we must be optimistic about progress on climate change in Durban.