Cabinet Meetings: Under Water and on top of Mountains

A post from the Blog!

Last month the Maldives Government held a Cabinet meeting under waterto highlight the threat of global warming to the island nation. This month Nepal’s Government will hold a Cabinet meeting at the Mount Everest base-camp to highlight the threat to glaciers. While both of these events are being reported around the world, will they do anything in the lead up to the talks in Copenhagen?

While both events can be used to place moral pressure on other states to do something at the COP15 summit, I don’t very much if it will be a clincher to a deal. These events have great media potential and both Governments have created a brilliant media event around these meetings and have gotten headlines. But whats the point if they don’t produce a deal in December?

The Maldives will still be at risk of flooding and Nepal’s glaciers will still be in danger of melting even faster.

There is a lot of razzmatazz and drama being built up around the COP15 conference, for the benefit of the World’s media. Some of it is by poor countries, and more of it is by NGO’s in various countries. While in some cases this media around the conference us good as it raises the awareness around the conference and things we can do to lessen our impact on the environment. Will it have any effect on the Governments that represent us?

Will Merkel, Obama, Brown and Cowen become converted to the cause of what is actually needed due to the actions of the Maldives and Nepal Governments? I frankly don’t think so.

Something more needs to be done to convince them of the right path. But I fear it will take an environmental catastrophe for them to be convinced. I fear it will be too late then.

Gay couple wed in Nepal

Cheered by scores of wedding guests, two gay men exchanged garlands of marigolds on Saturday in the first public same-sex marriage ceremony in tradition-bound Nepali society.

The guests, mostly activists from gay and lesbian rights groups and a few relatives, applauded as Anil Mahaju, 25, and Diya Kashyap, 21, exchanged vows in Katmandu, Nepal’s capital.

The marriage will not receive official approval, as Nepalese laws do not recognise same-sex unions, said Suni Pant, who heads the nonprofit Blue Diamond Society. There was no Hindu priest present to conduct the wedding.

“They have decided to get the marriage registered, but I think they will have to wait for a new constitution that would legitimise same-sex marriages,” Pant said.

Rights groups are hoping a new constitution, now being prepared by experts, will provide Nepal’s gay men and lesbians with civic rights.

Although there are no official figures, Pant said there are around 20,000 gay men and 1,000 lesbians in Nepal, a country with a population of around 25 million where gay sex is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison under public offense laws.