COP 23 Day 11: Transformation by Education – Education day at the climate conference

by Alexander Pfeiffer

Today was Education Day at the COP. Just like Gender, Farmer’s, and African Day, the theme day today was heavily structured around its leitmotif with side events, high level panels, and actions. It kicked-off in the morning with a high-level event with UNFCCC Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa of Morocco. Both stressed the importance of education for climate change. They also re-emphasized that much more must be done to make sure that countries and organizations work together to achieve a widespread awareness and understanding of climate change in the broad public. As Patricia Espinosa put it: “Transformations don’t happen in isolation, they require education and they require partnerships.”

High-level event with Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa of Morocco, UNFCCC Secretary Patricia Espinosa, and the choir of Bonn’s young climate ambassadors

Education has a special and important role in fighting climate change. In fact, it is important enough to be mentioned in a dedicated article (one of only 26 articles) within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Article 6 (‘Education, Training, and Public Awareness’) states that to effectively fight climate change, participating nations (parties) shall “promote and facilitate […] the development and implementation of educational and public awareness programmes […]; public access to information […]; public participation in addressing climate change and its effects and developing adequate responses; and training of scientific, technical and managerial personnel.”

To understand the reasons for and impacts of climate change, it is important to grasp the urgency of why we must act to reduce CO2 emissions decisively, and why we must work on adapting societies and economies to prepare for the climate change that we can no longer avoid. Article 6 emphasizes the role education, training and public awareness play. Climate change is the entry point for a global transformation to a sustainable future. Everyone has something to learn and to contribute to that transformation. Education and training enables society to be a part of the solution.

Alex is a delegate in Young European Leadership’s delegation to the COP and a doctorate student at the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) at the Oxford Martin School.

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COP 23 Day 10: A Healthy Planet for Healthy People

“We’re only as healthy as our planet.” Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, spoke those words at a COP23 side event on the connection between health and climate change. Climate change is a complex issue, with fingers impacting everything from agriculture to political conflicts. When it comes to health, climate change is greatly impacting something important to everyone : the ability to live and lead a healthy life.

The impacts of climate change on health are many. Rising temperatures alone will lead to heat stress, more air pollution, and more frequent and stronger extreme weather events. Changes in weather will allow diseases and disease-carrying insects to travel to further. A recent study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is clear about this topic : heat-related deaths alone will increase mortality in all regions if actions are not taken. The World Health Organization has stated that these impacts will target women more than men, and children will be particularly affected.

Credit: World Health Organization

There are a few benefits of climate change’s impact on human health. In terms of climate change communication, many people see climate change as a serious issue, but one that does not, and will not, impact them. The threats of climate change can seem like problems that may impact people on a small island in the Pacific, or future generations. By focusing on the health impacts of climate change, we can exemplify how climate change is not a problem for people in another location or future generations, but everyone, everywhere, right now.

Our focus now needs to be threefold. There needs to be work done to reach the goals set out by the Paris Agreement to lessen the impact on human health. For those impacts we’re already facing or can no longer mitigate, we need to increase public health outreach. Lastly, we need to use the knowledge of climate change’s impacts on health that we have to show people that climate change is a problem that is here now and can, and will, impact everyone.

Casey Catherine Miller is a the delegation lead for Young European Leadership. A recent Environmental Science MSc graduate, she is passionate about environmental education and communication, youth capacity building, and sustainable development. www.caseycatherine.com.

Follow the COP23 delegation’s daily video blog here!

COP 23 Day 9: Gender and Climate Change: what is that all about?

by Alexander Pfeiffer

Many days at the COP have a theme. Depending on the theme, several side events take place on that day, discussing topics concerning that subject. There are, for instance, Africa Day, Education Day, Farmer’s Day, and our theme for today, Gender Day. But what does gender have to do with climate change and why is Gender Day even a thing?

Climate change often most affects the weakest members of society. That applies to the global context, in which developing and least-developed nations bear a disproportional share of the negative climate impacts, as well as in the national and communal level. Women and children are in many communities amongst the most affected by climate change. Poor sections of the population that depend most on natural resources, such as water, for their livelihood and who have the least capability to withstand natural catastrophes, such as droughts, floods, and landslides, are suffering most from climate change. Most of the world’s poor are women.

Women often bear most of the negative impacts of a changing climate on livelihoods. At the same time, however, women are often excluded from participation in decision-making processes and the labor market. This makes it hard for them to take control over their own fate and prevents them from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation.

Credit: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar

Women have a lot to contribute – and, in fact, do contribute a lot – to fighting climate change. They often possess significant knowledge about sustainable resource management on the local and communal level. At a political level, the involvement of women has led to a greater responsiveness to the needs of the population and has often increased the co-operation across parties and ethnicities. On a global level, there are many inspiring and successful female climate leaders, such as Sunita Narain, Angela Camacho, Bridget Burns, or Reem Al-Mealla.

The UNFCCC has recognized the importance of involving women and men equally in the process, e.g. by acknowledging in the Paris Agreement that “Parties should when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, […], as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity.”

In particular, the parties have two goals to achieve this wider involvement: 1. Improving gender balance and increasing the participation of women in all UNFCCC processes, including in delegations and in bodies constituted under the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol, and 2. Increasing awareness and support for the development and effective
implementation of gender-responsive climate policy at the regional, national and local levels.

The progress to achieve this goal, however, has been slow. During the COP in Lima (COP 20) the parties agreed to develop a Lima work plan on gender (LWPG), which is currently scheduled for the COP 25 in 2019. During this year’s COP, an action plan for this was supposed to be adopted by the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI). While this topic seemed to be a bit stuck in negotiations it was indeed adopted today. The technical paper on achieving gender balance under UNFCCC is available here.

To sum it up: Climate change will overly affect women and children. Furthermore, women have much to contribute to make the fight against climate change successful. At the same time, women are often excluded from decision making that affects climate change (or is effected by climate change). Therefore, the parties should develop (and have decided to do so) a plan that further involves women into the process. A first success on the way to this was achieved today with the adoption of the gender action plan. Over the next COPs this needs to be further detailed and reviewed.

Alex Pfeiffer is a delegate in Young European Leadership’s delegation to COP 23 and a doctorate student at the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) at the Oxford Martin School.

Follow the COP23 delegation’s daily video blog here!

COP 23 Day 8: Acronyms, Agendas and More: Resources to Help You Navigate COP Negotiations

By Casey Catherine Miller

At the start of the second week of COP23, negotiations are starting to ramp up and the urgency of the fast approaching end of the conference is setting in. Following the various negotiations, side events and more can get complicated and leave anyone that doesn’t consider themselves an expert in climate change negotiations a bit lost.

Luckily, there’s a wealth of resources that can help you follow along these final days of the conference, from technical recaps of Bula zone meetings to opinion pieces on various COP23 topics.

Climate Tracker Daily Track Live Stream

This resource should be the first stop for anyone with an interest, but almost no previous knowledge, in climate negotiations. Representatives of Climate Tracker organize an informal, and often times fun, daily presentation of the previous day’s negotiations, with frequent interjections to clarify some points that may be a bit tricky for a negotiation newcomer. Climate Tracker’s Daily Track takes place daily in the Bonn Zone meeting room 10 at 10:30 am, but anyone around the world can follow along through the Climate Tracker’s Facebook livestream.

Credit: NASA

IISD Reporting Services’s Earth Negotiations Bulletin

For those who like to truly dig into the gritty details of negotiations, IISD Reporting Services produces the daily Earth Negotiations Bulletin, which gives an in depth summary of the previous day’s meetings. ENB goes past a short explanation of the main topics, and is useful for those who either have an interest in a topic typically skipped by other COP23 reporting sources or just prefer to know everything that’s going on.

Eco

Written in a more playful manner, this daily newsletter gives a basic overview of the main topics coming out of the previous day’s negotiations. Filled with puns and the always popular “Fossil of the Day” award, Climate Action Network has created a resource for everyone who wants to get a cursory knowledge of the negotiations through the eyes of one of the largest environmental NGOs while having a few laughs (or sometimes, groans).

Climate Tracker Infographics

Anyone who has spent any time following a negotiation has most likely spent a significant chunk of that time scratching their heads, asking questions like “What’s the difference between COP, APA, SBSTA and SBI?”, “Why do they keep referring to Article 6?”, and, most commonly, “Why are there so many acronyms and what do they mean!?”

Climate Tracker works to break down these complex topics in order to make the technical aspects of negotiations more accessible. While they also focus on writing various articles during the conference, these infographics are where Climate Tracker shines. The recent infographic on loss and damage, for example, is especially relevant during this COP.

Most importantly, the infographics on COP 23 Bodies should be everyone’s go-to resource when following negotiations. With not only a brief description of the various negotiating bodies, such as APA, SBSTA and COP, this infographics also digs into the most relevant agenda items of these various bodies. Think of it as your COP Acronym to English translation dictionary and keep it handy.

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With one more week to go, we hope that the negotiations pick up speed and current stalemates over topics such as pre-2020 action and loss and damage finance will eventually lead to solutions. As these complicated negotiations continue, make sure to keep an eye on the multiple resources available.

Casey Catherine Miller is a the delegation lead for Young European Leadership. A recent Environmental Science MSc graduate, she is passionate about environmental education and communication, youth capacity building, and sustainable development. www.caseycatherine.com.

Follow the COP23 delegation’s daily video blog here!

COP 23 Week 1 Recap: Where Have We Been, and Where Are We Going?

High level events are taking place on a regular basis, the crowds are getting bigger, and sightings of Al Gore, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and various government officials have increased, which can only mean one thing – the second week of COP23 has begun. As we look ahead to the final week of the conference, let’s look back to see what was discussed during the past week.

Pre-2020 Action

Although the Paris Agreement was born at COP21 in 2015 and has been the topic of negotiations since then, it won’t come into force until 2020. For some, mainly developing countries, waiting till 2020 to start ramping up international climate action is too late. During the past week developing countries have claimed they need pre-2020 action to have a chance of minimizing catastrophic climate change impacts. Developed countries, on the other hand, have yet to get behind the idea of discussing pre-2020 at COP23. In fact, the topic has been taken off the formal negotiation agenda all together. The United States has claimed there is simply not enough time to discuss pre-2020 action during this conference, while the European Union claims they have every intention of meeting their 2020 pledges yet do not see any need to discuss the issue formally at COP23.

As we look ahead to the final week of COP23, many are beginning to fear this is one issue that will end in a stalemate, threatening to turn Bonn into another Copenhagen. Many civil society members now wonder whether they should push for pre-2020 action to be put on the formal agenda, or whether this topic needs to be brushed over if we’re to have any hope of moving on and creating productive work by the end of COP23.

Loss and Damage

Debates between developing and developed countries is a significant trend at COP23. In addition to strong disagreements over pre-2020 action, there’s also debates on loss and damage – or more precisely, loss and damage finance.

Loss and damage does not have an official definition, making it all the more difficult to work with, but it typically refers to compensation for events that can’t be easily mitigated, such as extreme weather events and rising sea level. This topic is especially relevant at COP23, which closely follows recent significant weather disasters that many countries are still recovering from.

Developing countries are working towards the inclusion of loss and damage finance as a way to promote equity. Their argument lies in the fact that developed countries are responsible for altering the global climate while developing, and now developing countries both need to bear the brunt of these impacts while missing out on the opportunity to develop in the same way already developed countries have in the past. Developed countries, on the other hand, say there’s no way to prove if an extreme weather event is caused or exacerbated by climate change, so developed countries can not be held financially responsible. These discussions bring up issues of climate justice and equity, and in the coming week we will see whose version wins out in the end.

Global Stocktake and the Talanoa Dialogue

Despite frequent praise for the Paris Agreement, there’s still one bleak reality — the current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) are not ambitious enough to reach the 2 degree, let alone 1.5 degree, target. In order to increase ambition, the Talanoa Dialogue will use a global stocktake to assess what has been done so far to work towards the goals of the Paris agreement. This stocktake will be discussed in a Talanoa Dialogue, named after the Fiji act of using and open dialogue and storytelling to increase inclusivity and trust. This will hopefully allow countries to create more ambitious NDCs by 2020.

COP23 is when questions regarding the details of the Talanoa Dialogue must be answered – What is the scope of the global stocktake? Which factors will be included? In which ways will data be collected? Answering these questions now will give countries a stronger foundation when the Talanoa Dialogue officially starts at COP24.

Non-Party Actors

When President Donald Trump shocked the world by announcing the United States’ intention to leave the Paris Agreement, many followers of climate change negotiations wondered who, or what, would fill the gap left by the United States. A coalition of United States’ city and state leaders, as well a businesses, answered this concern with the creation of the US Climate Action Center. Many events and discussions have been held to let the world know that many parts of the United States are “still in.”

The increased involvement of non-party actors, such as non-governmental organizations and civil society, was also discussed in the first even Presidency’s Open Dialogue. While this dialogue intended to create solutions to increase non-party actors’ involvement in the COP process, it functioned more as a short forum for prepared speeches, with little true
dialogue taking place. Still, it was a good first step in the process to truly include non-party actors.

Casey Catherine Miller is a the delegation lead for Young European Leadership. A recent Environmental Science MSc graduate, she is passionate about environmental education and communication, youth capacity building, and sustainable development. www.caseycatherine.com http://www.caseycatherine.com.

Follow the COP23 delegation’s daily video blog here!

COP 23 Day 6: ‘We Are Still In’ – Two American Faces at COP 23

by Casey Catherine Miller

With Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris Agreement earlier this year, all eyes have been on the role of the United States at COP 23, and the impact Trump’s decision will have on negotiation progress.

There are two distinct faces to American representation at the conference this year. One is the usual negotiations team, which although smaller than usual, is nonetheless present. The process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement won’t be completed until November 4, 2020 (interestingly, just one day after the next Presidential Election), so a delegation has been sent to represent American interests in the implementation of the agreement.

Although reports suggest that this team has been fairly constructive so far, Trump’s position is certainly being felt. The negotiating team has not stepped into the leadership role it once assumed, and for the first time in 20 years, the United States’ government does not have a pavilion at the conference. Furthermore, the administration is set to host an event at the COP next week promoting coal, natural gas and nuclear energy as an answer to climate change. This is expected to provoke strong reactions here in Bonn.

In contrast, over one hundred American state, city and business leaders are participating at COP 23, as part of the We Are Still In movement. 2,500 American leaders have signed the We Are Still In Declaration, committing themselves to delivering on the promise of the Paris Agreement, and showing the world that US leadership on climate change extends well beyond federal policy.

We Are Still In has established the US Climate Action Center, a pavilion and forum where dozens of American leaders are convening throughout the negotiations. Activities have kicked-off in the past couple of days, with events being led by Governor Jerry Brown from California and Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City.

The jam-packed venue, widespread American presence, and sheer energy at the US Climate Action Center this morning (even on a rainy Day 6 at COP!) showed that the even in the absence of federal leadership on this issue, Americans are continuing to play a central role in the climate change agenda. From Senator Jeff Merkley’s ‘100 By 50 Act’ – which lays out a roadmap for a transition to 100% clean and renewable energy in the US by 2050 – to the City of New York’s commitment to climate resilient planning and development, this morning proved that there’s still plenty of reason for optimism.

Follow the COP23 delegation’s daily video blog here!

COP 23 Day 5: Food, Land, Water, and Reality.

By Katja Garson

Friday at COP23 focused on food, land and water. It was a day for the discussion of the need to protect territories, habitats, and food systems which rely on an environmentally, and politically, secure world. It was also made clear that this secure world is disappearing, or perhaps already changed forever.

At the bi-weekly Demand Climate Justice meeting, pre-2020 targets and ambition were high on the agenda. Currently there are no binding legal obligations within the Paris Agreement for countries to achieve targets before the 2020 deadline. This means that developed countries are dragging their feet whilst less developed nations call for greater ambition on emissions and climate schemes.

Also discussed was the continuing refusal of the United States to engage on Loss and Damage (L&D;). In a nutshell, L&D; refers to the negative climate impacts which occur despite countries’ attempts to adapt or to take action. L&D; particularly affects less developed and developing nations. Most recently, the G77 group of countries (developing countries with similar economic interests) have united around wanting to create a permanent subsidiary body to implement discussions on Loss and Damage. However, the United States has repeatedly blocked any attempts to move this forward, even when a forum was suggested as a compromise. Those attending the DCJ meeting as representatives of climate justice groups are naturally frustrated by the United States’ ongoing blocking of talks on the subject.

Lack of ambition and commitment is not only politically problematic, but it has real effects on human populations and natural environments in many parts of the world. Drawing one of the largest crowds for any side-event so far, former US Vice President Al Gore presented his thoughts on the overwhelming climate crisis, its everyday lived reality, and what is already being done to tackle climate change.

Credit: Tom Raftery

Al Gore, who now heads the Climate Reality Project, spoke eloquently and dramatically; asking three questions: Do we really have to change? Can we change? Will we change? What is clear is that we are already seeing unpredictable and devastating weather events which are especially debilitating to those who are socially marginalised. It is also clear that renewable energy is a key way forward, with countries such as Chile, Algeria and India leading the way in transitioning away from fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, in a show of energy, hope, and refusal to be drowned out by corporate interests, a group of activists including individuals from Engajamundo, the Indigenous Environmental Network, SustainUS and UKYCC took part in an action on land and forest rights. This is our reality; the reality of many people in threatened territories around the globe — our forests are being auctioned off by corrupt governments and greedy investors. ‘Defend Indigenous rights, no to deforestation!’ they say.

If pre-2020 ambition can be increased and binding commitments pushed forwards and past barriers created by countries such as the US, then perhaps we will finally be on the road to a better reality. The last day of Week 1 shows just how much there is yet to be done.

Katja Garson is a member of the COP23 Delegation for Young European Leadership. She also organizes with the UK Youth Climate Coalition, is passionate about communication and the building of collaborative networks to enact positive change, and holds an MSc in Environmental Governance.

Follow the COP23 delegation’s daily video blog here!

COP 23 Day 4: Youth and Future Generations Day – An Analyis of Youth Involvement at COP23

By Sian Evans and Casey Catherine Miller

Today it’s Youth and Futures Day at COP 23, and my first full day at the conference – a fitting time to get stuck-in as a YEL delegate.

As a newcomer to the COP process, it’s encouraging to see the level of youth engagement here. Representation of youth at COPs has grown significantly over the years, with most youth participation taking place at the civil society level, and the importance of this was discussed today during a dialogue between various youth groups and the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.

Espinosa spoke of the efforts taking place to educate youth on climate change issues and engage them in the decision making process, but also acknowledged there is a gap to be bridged. Capacity building support is needed to equip youth with the skills and knowledge to effectively participate in negotiations, and to facilitate youth engagement at the policy-making level. This is particularly the case for youth representatives from the global south

COP 23 Day 4 – Our future for sale

While Young and Future Generations Day was the perfect time to highlight the benefit of increased youth involvement in the COP process, youth had to share the spotlight with another thematic day — Business and Industry. Various youth organizations used this overlap to speak out on their issues with conflict of interest between industry representatives promoting environmentally damaging industries and the ultimate goals of the Paris Agreement. One activist action highlighted this issues through a mock auction, where the interests of youth were bought and sold by “businessmen” with unfettered access to the negotiations.

It’s clear that the youth at COP23 are passionate and ready to fight for their cause, yet there needs to be further capacity building to allow youth involvement to be more effective and meaningful. Hopefully by COP24 this is something that is accomplished.

Sian Evans is a member of the COP23 Delegation for Young European Leadership. She is a Project Manager at the Office of the Quartet, an international organization supporting Palestinian economic development, and is passionate about sustainable development and the clean energy transition.

Casey Catherine Miller is a the delegation lead for Young European Leadership. A recent Environmental Science MSc graduate, she is passionate about environmental education and communication, youth capacity building, and sustainable development. www.caseycatherine.com.

Follow the COP23 delegation’s daily video blog here!

COP 23 Day 3: Good Actors and Bad Actors: Not all Non-Party Stakeholders are Created Equal

By Casey Catherine Miller

Following yesterday’s announcement of Syria’s intent to ratify the Paris Agreement, another historic moment took place today at COP23. For the first time in COP history, party and non-party stakeholders were invited to a Presidency’s Open Dialogue to go over issues of NDC implementation and non-party stakeholder involvement in the COP process.

Broken into two sessions, the second session of the Open Dialogue looked for concrete ways to include civil society and other non-party stakeholders into the negotiation process effectively, transparently and equitably. Although the purpose of this discussion is valuable and the fact that it took place shows Fiji’s dedication to including all stakeholders at COP23, one statement emerged to the forefront of the discussion: when it comes to non-party stakeholders, should we be trying to include all stakeholders in an equal manner?

Multiple constituents of the YOUNGO, ENGO and Women and Gender working groups brought this issue to the table. Increased involvement, or more to the point the increased effectiveness of involvement, of non-actor stakeholders is much needed. Yet issues arise when this involvement extends to those who are in no way acting towards the benefit of the Paris Agreement and climate action in general. This refers to non-party stakeholders representing industries, businesses and organizations with direct financial interests in weakening the Paris Agreement.

One ENGO constituent put it quite clearly: many non-state actors at COP23 are acting in the public’s interest, yet some are clearly acting in their best commercial interests. To sum it up, this constituent mentioned that “clearly, not all non-party stakeholders are created equally.”

COP23 Day 3

Giving non-party stakeholders with anti-Paris Agreement agendas full access to a conference that is taking place in order to further the implementation of the Paris Agreement is counter productive. While this issue won’t be solved in one open dialogue, it’s high time for a serious discussion within the UNFCCC on what level of involvement certain, for lack of a better word, destructive stakeholders can participate in the COP. The UNFCCC can look to the World Health Organization’s work towards preventing the tobacco industry from domineering negotiations on health as a prime example on how to do this.

Hopefully it won’t take 23 more COPs to develop a way to effectively include non-party stakeholders in the negotiations without giving excessive power to stakeholders working to challenge the Paris Agreement. As one Climate Action Network constituent stated in the Open Dialogue, “what we expect from this dialogue is hopefully to come to some very good solutions and then move on…then we don’t have to use our time and your time to engage on [the issue of non-party stakeholder engagement], which shouldn’t be an issue.”

Casey Catherine Miller is a the delegation lead for Young European Leadership. A recent Environmental Science MSc graduate, she is passionate about environmental education and communication, youth capacity building, and sustainable development. www.caseycatherine.com

Follow the COP23 delegation’s daily video blog here!

COP 23 Day 2: A Day for Civil Society, from U.S. Peoples’ Delegation to Indigenous Groups

Day 2 at COP23, and things have been just as busy as expected. After the excitement around yesterday’s opening events, Tuesday got off to a confident start. This delegate has been rushing from event to event, following personal passions whilst trying to keep a handle on advancements within the negotiations.

The U.S. Peoples’ Delegation, a delegation comprised of individuals from different backgrounds and with multiple identities, including youth, Indigenous peoples, professionals, frontline communities and advocates, held a press conference in the Bula Zone this morning. This press conference provided a platform for the group to speak out against the Trump Administration’s socio-environmentally unjust activities, from the proposed axing of healthcare, to rollback on legal climate protection and the playing-down of the threats of climate change. In addition, the delegation called for all nations to unite in delivering climate justice; highlighting that Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement must not be an excuse for other countries to drag their feet. Determined, and already seeing patterns of climate-denial and corporate greed in their home communities, the
People’s Delegation presented a powerful united front in moving forwards to resist polluters and leaders who do not shoulder their responsibilities.

As today is Indigenous People’s Day, it seems fitting that also taking place at this time were the first few hours of an international tribunal on the Rights of Nature. Attendees include members of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Amazon Watch, and the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, as well as many others. It is hoped that debates and
progress on securing land rights and the protection of indigenous cultures will spread not only within civil society, NGO groups and the media, but also within spaces of ‘official’ decision-making and leadership.

After this session it was time for a quick lunch in the Bonn Zone and a visit to the increasingly popular free coffee stand (hopefully fairtrade and sustainable) in the German Pavilion, before moving on to an action and productive conversations with representatives from Friends of the Earth Europe and other European NGOs. There is a true spirit of collaboration her, at least among civil society groups.

COP23 Day 2

While I was putting my energies into hearing stories from the frontlines of climate change, countries resumed negotiations within the Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement. This group discusses adaptation communications, frameworks for transparency, and the ways in which Parties will submit their Nationally Determined Contributions. So far, all countries have been able to make themselves heard through this Working Group earlier in the year, however as this is only the second day of COP23, no amended text has yet been agreed.

Though the policy has seen minimal change so far, today was an especially exciting day for climate policy, as it was announced that Syria will ratify the Paris Agreement. This leaves the US as the only country not to be included within the Agreement.

Katja Garson is a member of the COP23 Delegation for Young European Leadership. She also organizes with the UK Youth Climate Coalition, is passionate about communication and the building of collaborative networks to enact positive change, and holds an MSc in Environmental Governance.

Follow the COP23 delegation’s daily video blog here!