DURBAN, COP17: The C17 committee and its work for civil society

South African civil society has been busy organising itself for some time in preparation for the COP, with two primary goals: a neutral space for civil society activities of all stripes, and a mass consolidated march on Sat 3 December. C17′s official website is It includes a calendar of events outside of the official COP itself, and you can register your own non-COP activities on the calendar.

This blog is a rather informal operation, as you may have gathered. I will continue updating this site up to and throughout the COP – but please don’t expect it to be a comprehensive resource.

There doesn’t appear to be a final decision on the actual venue for the civil society space yet, so I’ll update you when that comes. However, survivors of Cancun will probably be relieved to hear that this whole COP, including civil society spaces, should be a whole lot more geographically consolidated than was COP16 in Mexico. I’m taking my bike to Durban.

There’s more about C17 below, in their own words. Faith community events are consolidated at

Here’s hoping we all find some true value in the next few weeks of craziness, and that it’s all somehow worth the inevitable carbon footprint. Please take care of your selves as well as the planet!


C17 (in its own words)

The Civil Society Committee for COP17 (C17) includes representatives of 16 organisations including social movements, labour, environmental justice organisations, international environmental NGOs and faith-based organisations. It is a facilitatory body that will coordinate the participation of international and national movements and organisations of civil society in the common process but will not seek to represent them or to enter into negotiations with, or lobbying of, governments on their behalf.

Rather, the C17 seeks to create opportunities for:

• Civil society engagement with climate change solutions and in the climate change negotiations during 2011
• Civil society engagement with the South African government around climate change negotiations and positions
• A platform for the expression of diversity in civil society
• Environmental movement building in South Africa and the region


What is C17 organising?

Common Process: C17 is working to facilitate civil society preparation for COP 17 and creating the conditions for effective participation, inclusivity and accountability. The process will encourage mutual solidarity by linking people’s struggles for climate justice but also accommodate differences between organisations.
Civil Society Space: At each COP, civil society groups organise independent events, strategise, share knowledge, hold conferences and build international links for campaigns and initiatives. There is immense value in creating a single precinct to meet these needs. The People’s Space being set up by C17 is inclusive of all civil society groups working on climate change and is open to the public. The Space will be active from 26th November to 10th December 2011.
Climate Refugee Camp: During 2011, national, regional and international organisations will mobilise people across South Africa and the continent to ensure a strong presence of informed and engaged community activists at COP17. The activists will be accommodated in the Climate Refugee Camp at COP17. They will participate in a programme of events, centred on the Global Day of Action, to raise awareness of climate impacts in Africa, the potential scale of social disruption, and hence the need for real solutions. The camp will be active from 1 to 5 December 2011.
Global Day of Action: The Global Day of Action (GDA) is a traditional and important event at the UNFCCC COPs. The primary action is a mass march of international and national community, labour, women, youth, academic, religious and environmental organisations and activists. It will demonstrate civil society’s common determination to address climate change. The Global Day of Action is on 3rd December 2011.


The C17 committee and its work for civil society action at COP17

See also:

UNFCCC, Durban Climate Change Conference – November 2011

POLARIS INSTITUTE, Corporations, Climate and the United Nations: How Big Business has Seized Control of Global Climate Negotiations

C17 – Civil Society Committee for COP17




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