“Bhutan as Chair of SAARC, made an intervention at the COP plenary today to admit SAARC as an observer at UNFCCC. The intervention was promptly supported by series of interventions by India followed by Pakistan. In response, the COP President requested the secretariat to facilitate the process for the approval of the proposal.” This was a part of a live email update from opening plenary of COP16 sent to CANSA google group from the Moon Palace, Cancun on November 20, 2010. There was an overwhelming response from the colleagues with the positive aspiration that from now onwards along with the civil society network, our governments’ regional forum will also take part in UNFCCC negotiations.
South Asian journalist at Cancun and back in the country also had similar expectations, I was asked several questions upon receiving my email: what actual status did SAARC get at UNFCCC and what actually the observer mean? Is it like EU, or is it like African Union or like ICIMOD and IUCN? These questions in fact encouraged me to scrutinize more about our regional forum. Then, I started inquiring my own people, what I found were, objectively there is no vast difference between SAARC with EU and African Union. One of the objectives of SAARC is to accelerate economic growth and social progress of this region. Similarly, African Union is to accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent and the European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states. But in reality what I knew was, objectives are not the only principal guidance of this forum. So, in conclusion, back to the topic, SAARC after Cancun has given similar status as other intergovernmental organization (IGOs). Now, onwards SAARC can also attend any UNFCCC meetings as an observer and can also make a submission on its behalf.