When we went to our first trip to the WBCSD meeting in Paris in 2015, all of us were stunned by the presence of highly ranked celebrities, CEO’s, politicians and WBCSD members. It definitively was a great and impressive experience for all of us and we took a lot from this meeting – not just the motivation from Al Gore’s inspiring speech but also the driving mood from project presentations and the feeling of need for change as a general consensus of the meeting. After being in Paris I wasn’t sure if the liaison delegates meeting in Montreux would be comparable to this experience, although I had high expectations as I knew it would be the hands-on approach to the ground-breaking decisions that had been made in Paris 2015.
The preparation actually felt quite similar to our Paris trip: we got a warm welcome and a friendly introduction by Marie Loriott and Nicole Berthier who had already been our contact persons in Paris and we got to know the venue. However at the first day I realised that there was quite a difference to Paris as we could not attend any sessions until afternoon as most of the working sessions were closed – this was due to the higher level of confidentiality in this meeting. The fact that the whole meeting and the outcome of the working sessions underlie a strict level of confidentiality made me more aware that this meeting had the intention to allow the liaison delegates to discuss different approaches for different issues and not, as the council meeting in Paris had been, a meeting to demonstrate the work for external press.
Having been at both meetings, I always compared the situation in Montreux to the time in Paris; So if I would have to give one descriptive word to each of the meetings, it would be that Paris had been impressive while Montreux was more convincing for me.
While observing the sessions at the council meeting in Paris showed me that there is a way for a sustainable future by reaching all the sustainability goals, being Note-taker in one of the closed sessions and attending the plenary at the liaison delegates meeting in Montreux gave me more touchable ideas about how to get there – in other words, Montreux was to provide solutions and actions plans for what Paris had been the wake up call.
written by Miriam Luft