It's the Environment, Stupid.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Environment Roundtable - not designed for observation

At the World Urban Forum 3, there are several Roundtable Discussions - specific meetings with invited organizations and dignitaries who are supposed to form new partnerships and develop new programs and ideas. Not all of these sessions are open to the public, so I was excited to see that the Environment Roundtable was open to observers.

The Environment Roundtable was led by Amelia Clarke of Sierra Club Canada (well, as of 4:00pm pacific time the meeting is still going on). Clarke prefaced the meeting with: this meeting is about turning ideas into action, we did not design it to be observed.

Then, specifically addressing the smattering of people observing, "this meeting was not designed to be observed." Thanks. Got it. With that out of the way (and a comment from Clarke about how loud the microphones were) the roundtable got underway.

Participants went around the table to introduce themselves - there was a large number of organizations from Canada represented, plus organizations from around the world focused on natural resource management, youth, food security, health, education (and a few others.) Each was instructed to specify which small group area they wanted to participate in: Community/capacity building, youth/education, energy/resources, safe environment, building/housing, food. After the introductions, the participants were to go around and talk to others in the group to get an idea of what the different organziations were doing and to see who they would like to work with. (Later they would break into small groups to discuss future partnerships and projects within the specified areas.)

At this point, Ms. Clarke said to the observers, "This is where it will get boring for you." Poor assumption on her part. While I do hope they develop some great partnerships and programs for the future and turn them into real action, I'd love it if next time they'd design it to be observed, because I don't think there's anything boring about learning more about the process of how plans are formed and put into action.


Post a Comment

<< Home