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Director’s Cut - Friday, 26 March 2010
Why We Didn’t Publish Daily Issues of the ENB at CITES COP15
By Kimo Goree, Director of IISD Reporting Services (IISD RS) - kimo@iisd.org
Kimo Goree
Kimo Goree
Director of
IISD RS
Due to lack of funding, IISD Reporting Services was unable to send a full team of writers/editors to the Fifteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP15) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). As a result, as many of you have noted, we did not publish daily issues from the recent meeting in Doha, Qatar. We apologize to all of our readers, particularly those participants in Doha who might have expected their small delegations would be aided by our daily reports when they found they could not be in all negotiating groups at once. However, despite our best efforts, we were not able to secure the needed funding from the host country, key developed country governments or the Secretariat to ensure full coverage.  (We would also like to thank those readers who set up and joined the Facebook group “People Who Missed the ENB at CITES COP15” at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=110281355653951 )

In order to maintain the continuity of our coverage of CITES, since we have covered all the COPs and almost all the meetings of the Plants Committee and Animals Committee and meetings of the Standing Committee since 2000, we did manage to send a very small team to Doha. On Sunday, 28 March 2010, we will publish a summary of the meeting and distribute it through our email lists and on the Linkages website at http://www.iisd.ca/cites/cop15/ (with French and Spanish versions to follow on 5 April 2010.)

WHY WE COULD NOT FUND COVERAGE OF THE CITES COP
IISD Reporting Services is in the last week of our current fiscal year, which runs from 1 April 2009 through 31 March 2010. In January 2009, almost fifteen months ago, we started our funding campaign for FY2009-2010 and approached all of our donors asking for an increase in funding levels, anticipating both higher annual operating costs as well as additional expenses due to the dramatic increase in the number of climate-related meetings. While some of our donors were very generous in responding to our requests for additional funding in 2009 (Sweden, Australia, Austria and the European Commission in particular), many were unable to do so due to the current world financial downturn.

However, the costs of providing the ENB at the two additional week-long UNFCCC meetings in Bonn, the two weeks of negotiations in Bangkok and an extra week of climate talks in Barcelona (as well as an expensive, large meeting in Copenhagen) created more than US$250,000 in additional costs in 2009, which were not offset by the increases in funding from these few donors. As a result, we are currently facing a shortfall of approximately US$200K heading into the end of our fiscal year. Since we cannot spend more than we have received from donors, this placed our coverage of meetings like CITES, as well as the long term viability of Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of some processes, at risk.

HOW THE MEA SECRETARIATS HELPED US TO CONTINUE PUBLISHING THIS YEAR
As early as July 2009, we began adjusting our work program to our budget situation and started the process of contacting various MEA Secretariats that were planning meetings in the second half of 2009 and early 2010. We anticipated very early that we might run out of funding for coverage of the CITES COP, which falls in the last two weeks of our fiscal year. As a result, we circulated a copy of our funding proposal for the CITES COP15 to the host government and key delegations while we were covering the CITES Standing Committee in July 2009. Unfortunately, we received no response to our request for funding. We also wrote to the CITES Secretariat to request assistance, but received no reply.

In late August 2009 some of you may have read my “Director’s Cut”, published here in Linkages Update, titled Scarce Resources in a Period of Increasing Demand for Services,which outlined our funding dilemma. That article presaged the events that have transpired during the intervening seven months http://www.iisd.ca/whats_new/directors_cut134.html

Since that article was written, almost all of our requests to the MEA Secretariats for assistance have been met with positive responses. Although we were not able to raise funds for complete coverage of the Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) to Prepare for the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Mercury, we received some additional support that supplemented our funding from government donors for the following meetings and did not have to cancel any other coverage in 2009 and early 2010:

The International Tropical Timer Organization provided funding for our coverage of the forty-fifth session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC);
The Stockholm Convention Secretariat provided additional funding for full coverage of the fifth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee;
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) proffered assistance so we could field a full team for reporting from the twelfth regular session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture;
The UNEP Ozone Secretariat assisted with DSA and travel for two of our team members to attend the Twenty-first meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol

We would also like to thank the Netherlands for their contribution that enabled us to provide full coverage of the Group of the Friends of the Co-Chairs on Liability and Redress in the Context of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 8-12 February 2010.

WHAT WE ARE DOING TO AVOID HAVING THIS HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE
In January of this year, we launched our fundraising campaign for 2010-2011 and have circulated our proposal to donors: http://www.iisd.ca/enbvol/ENB_CY_2010_Funding_Proposal.pdf . In our letter of request, we have indicated that we anticipate additional meetings this year as the UNFCCC negotiations continue, as well as new meetings associated with the Rio +20 and Mercury processes. We have communicated to our donors that, in order to continue the same level of coverage that we have provided in the past and to include coverage of new and additional meetings, we will need to raise more money than we did in 2009, and we have asked them to increase their level of support.

We are also reaching out to several governments that have not supported our fundamental (non-translation) costs in recent years, including the Governments of France, Spain, Belgium and the Republic of Korea.

In addition, we will begin immediately in economizing our coverage of meetings in 2010-2011 (beginning with the UNFCCC LCA and KP meetings in Bonn next month), downsizing our teams and eliminating daily coverage from some negotiations in order to ensure that we at least are able to provide summary coverage from all of the meetings scheduled for this year. We will also be contacting the MEA Secretariats and those Parties with key interests in certain meetings to request their assistance in specific, additional funding that might allow us to provide daily reporting and digital coverage.

For your information, here is a pie chart listing our donors in 2009 and their % contribution:

ENB Funding in 2009

WHAT CAN YOU DO AS AN ENB READER?
Each year we provide daily and summary coverage of more than seventy international meetings to you, our readers, with no subscription fees, and we hope to keep it that way. Although all of our reports are freely available, there are real costs involved in publishing, hiring writers, organizing logistics, travel, training, managing and maintaining our websites and distributing our publications. To keep the Earth Negotiations Bulletin free and to ensure that we continue providing our neutral, objective and timely dose of transparency at international negotiations, we need your help in convincing our donors to continue and increase their level of support.

All of us on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin Team would appreciate your assistance in forwarding our 2010 Funding Proposal to your colleagues in government ministries and donor organizations with a positive recommendation to support the Earth Negotiations Bulletin in 2010.

If you are a donor and would specifically like to provide funding for ENB coverage at any of the meetings in 2010-2011, please feel free to contact me and I’ll prepare a letter of request.

Again, we would like to apologize for the absence of daily reports from the CITES COP15 meeting in Doha and we hope to return to our usual level of coverage in the near future.
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