About Sumaya Zakieldeen, Sudanese Delegate

At COP15, Dr. Sumaya ZakiEldeen was a member of the Sudanese delegation and a professor at Khartoum University. From Copenhagen, she wrote this message, which reflects both her biographical information and feelings at the COP:

Hi I’m one the Sudanese negotiators here in Copenhagen, we are the ones trying to make a good deal happen. It’s tough work being a negotiator and even tougher when you realise what is at stake. I think about people back home and the drought. We have increased drought – and then sudden floods. It’s alarming and really having an impact on the lives of so many in our communities.

I’ve been coming to this climate change conference since 2005. Back then our delegation was just five people. With the growing interest from our government on climate change, and the fact we are chair of the G77 – a coalition of developing countries – we are now 11 people. This is the same for most African countries, over the years our numbers in the negotiation room has gone up and this can only be a good thing. I’m really proud of Africa during these negotiations, I think we are really influential, we know what the priorities for the continent are and the process has allowed us to engage a lot. Engagement is important but what’s more important is the text which will be signed at the end. We hope our efforts and everyone who is backing a good deal gets that good deal. The right deal is crucial to so many people and their livelihoods. If it doesn’t happen, it will not be a reflection of what the people really want and what they have been campaigning for. I have to say it is very difficult, having the whole world into a room and getting them to agree. There are times when some countries will disagree with one line and another country will come up with ‘an intelligent’ solution to the problem and suggest another line! We could be there for hours till everyone is satisfied. Last night I left at 1am.

I think from inside the negotiating room we are all worried about the time we have to make a good deal. WE don’t have long. On top of that, Sudan, along with many other countries is worried that we will not get a legally binding deal. Having a political agreement which is not legally binding will be a disaster and not a reflection of the hard work that has gone into it.

Want videos featuring this interviewee? Sumaya Zakieldeen Videos

About Brett Shollenberger

Brett '350' Shollenberger is a 2011 graduate of Dickinson College. He has recently conducted a review of Dickinson's Climate Action Plan, served as lead author on a climate ethics thesis for the Penn State Rock Ethics Conference and presented at the 2010 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Conference. You should give him a job! Brett Shollenberger Brett's Blog!