As it has done for the past eight years, SustainUS is sending all-star group of young leaders to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Their group blog is here, and it’s well worth a read.
I’ve seen enough young people go through this process to be able to predict how this will read. At the beginning, everyone is pretty starry-eyed — very excited to be in the historic UN building, awed by their own access and impressed by their fellow youth advocates. Within a couple of days, as they’re asked to prepare formal interventions and policy positions, folks start to feel as if they’re in over their heads. About halfway through, the delegates feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Then, as the conference comes to an end, many of the participants decide this whole exercise has been a waste of time — that the UN is worthless and that very little is accomplished in international negotiations. With a few days to reflect, most of those delegates then realize how empowered they’ve become, how much they’ve learned, and how these negotiations, which move at a glacially slow pace, are actually an important component in the larger international policymaking process.
Hm. “The Five Step Process of Coping With International Negotiations.” Maybe I should try to brand this…
— Scott Paul