UNITED NATIONS. HOW TO GET 167 MEMBER STATES VERY ANGRY

 

15 SEPTEMBER 2009

HOW TO GET 167 MEMBER STATES VERY ANGRY

First, inform them well in advance that they will be attending a very high-level meeting on Climate Change in New York one day before the opening of the General Debate. Then just a few weeks before the promised gathering, let them know second-hand that they are second class states. The first class is a group of only 25 whose heads of state will gather exclusively for a working dinner.

To ensure that you add insult to injury, let them find out that whatever statements they may wish to make will be delivered via pre-recorded video tapes. Also make sure to violate established protocol that specifies that heads of state take precedence over foreign affairs ministers who came before New York-based ambassadors. Just allow an unknown "director of the Secretary General's Climate Change Support Team" decide on who should participate in round tables and who should go round in circles.

If 130 countries of the Group of 77 request clarification of the basis for the "chosen" 25 leaders, do not bother to give a direct answer, especially if you are far away on holiday and those representatives are sweating it out in New York's August heat. Give a general answer. Better yet, pontificate through a statement that a meeting "would provide a platform to consider the key political issues to be addressed during negotiations leading up in Copenhagen." Pontificate further that "the focus would be on interactive dialogue"! If that is not enough to irritate the excluded majority, pump in more politically correct generalities by stressing that the objective was to arrive at a political vision, provide direction for the negotiations, and provide the impetus to move them forward!"

Then put them in their place by telling them that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, "as chair of the summit," will be providing a summary. And if any of the 167 excluded members behaved properly, about 20 - 25 of them may be invited to a "breakfast meeting" (as opposed to a working dinner)!

It is unclear who is running that farcical set-up and who precisely is advising the Secretary General whose stature and position we all wish to preserve. But when he allows such confusion to prevail, he has over 100 heads of states angry at him personally, not at those unknowns who hide behind his title. If his aides persuade him that he really needs only 25 heads out of 192, then what he really needs is enlightened honest advice.