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  • A further Report prior to the COP by Oliver Maurice

    Posted on November 23, 2015

    It has been a busy week leading up to the ‘journey’ to Paris this coming weekend. Having circulated the membership with the news that we were looking for a fourth person to fill the gap in the delegation for the second week, I received expressions of interest from four members but none have been able to take up the offer for varying reasons. In the event the place has now been filled by Josh Gilbert who is travelling with Anika Molesworth from Australia.
    In her words : « Josh is passionate about his Aboriginal and cultural heritage and has been doing great things for climate change action. He has a wealth of knowledge on indigenous communities, the environment and I am sure he would be over the moon if he had a chance to enter the ‘main arena’ at COP 21 ». I am pleased to say he is over the moon and I am looking forward to welcoming him as part of the team.
    I have had a regular exchange of emails with Andrew Potts (US ICOMOS) and a member of the first week’s delegation He has managed to organise a side event on 1 Dec in downtown Paris with the theme : Improving the treatment of cultural heritage in the next IPCC Assessment Report. The draft agenda is attached. It is very exciting that we will have not only a speaker from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) but also one from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, as well as our own members of the INTO delegation.
    Andrew and I will be acting as rapporteurs and have been asked to provide feedback to UNESCO at a session in their pavilion at the main conference centre at Le Bourget on 5 Dec.
    This last weekend has been full-on too. On Saturday I was invited to address a Climate Forum on why I was attending COP 21. This gave me an opportunity to give the background to the NT (EWNI), the NT movement in general, the establishment of INTO and its membership and then to touch on the effects of climate change on the heritage – all in the space of 10 minutes and in French! Over 100 people attended.
    On Sunday, the debate continued with an amazing film, La Glace et le Ciel, (Ice and Sky) being shown at the start to a capacity audience of over 200. This traces the work of a French glaciologist Claude Lorius, over 60 years in the Antarctic where he and his colleagues drilled down through the ice to a depth of hundreds of metres removing cores (carrots in French !) of ice dating back 800,000 years. The analysis shows the effects of climate fluctuations during this period which are relatively stable and level until the industrial revolution at which point the huge upward curve shows humans’ effect on the climate.
    The debate then followed as to what the local citizens would propose in order to reduce their impact on the environment. The outcome was that a letter was to be written incorporating their ideas which I agreed to take to COP 21 and present to Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Secretariat.


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