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  • Wednesday Update from Paris

    Posted on December 3, 2015

    The COP is now in full swing with so many side events and other happenings taking place. In the Climate Generations space alone, 360 talks and 75 films are being shown in the course of the 2 weeks to say nothing of the Exhibition Hall where INTO has its stand, where there are 10 ‘Observer Rooms’ (lecture theatres) with seating capacities of anywhere between 200 and 500.

    Balloon in photo contains a police security camera!

    Balloon in photo contains a police security camera!

    There are invariably about 5 side events going on concurrently so one has to pick and choose and at the same time try to ensure the stand is manned. Today has been devoted to agriculture so Anika has attended a number of relevant events about which she will report seperately under INTO Farms.

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    On the subject of side events, we all attended the joint one with US ICOMOS yesterday afternoon near the Champs-Elysées. This had been extremely well organised by Andrew Potts who had managed to attract an eminent array of speakers from other organisations including the Vice Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, Dr Youba Sokona; the Director, Science, IPCC Working Group, Dr Katharine Mach; Anna Sidorenko from the European and North American Unit of the World Heritage Centre at UNESCO and Dr David Harvey, Professor of Historical Cultural Geography at the University of Exeter, whose latest book, The Future of Heritage as Climate Changes: Loss, Adaptation and Creativity, was published earlier this year

    The purpose of the event was to examine how to improve the the treatment of cultural heritage in the 6th Assessment Report (AR6) of the IPCC through new collaboration between interested organisations. AR5 states that « impacts, such as loss of …cultural heritage, and ecosystem services are difficult to value and to monetise and thus they are poorly reflected in estimates of losses ».

    Andrew acted as mediator and cleverly mingled the outside speakers with our own delegation: academics with practitioners !

    It was refreshing to hear the Vice Chair of IPCC state that « culture was really important » in outlining the steps that are taken in producing an Assessment Report. He was clearly open to new ideas from the ground up and would be happy for us to reach out to the IPCC. He was looking for worldwide input rather than just  from Europe and the USA as has tended to happen with past assessments.

    This was an important occasion from INTO’s perspective allowing us to make ourselves better known to both UNESCO and the IPCC.  And there will be further opportunities, not least on Saturday, when Andrew and I, as co-rapporteurs, will be giving feedback at the UNESCO pavilion here at Le Bourget, where we will be joined by Dr Mechtild Rossler, Head of the World Heritage Centre at UNESCO

    It was a pleasure to meet up with old friends at the side event,  Hashim Djo, Chair of the Indonesian Heritage Trust and his daughter; and Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, CEO of Europa Nostra, all of whom were at the ICN16 in Cambridge.

    This morning Keith introduced me to Claire Raisin, representing an organisation called The Size of Wales, as they raise money for forestry projects in Africa and South America (on a scale the size of Wales!). I was hopeful of a lead to conservation ngo’s in South America where we are not currently represented amongst our membership and that may yet transpire. We had a useful chat about fundraising including Claire giving me one or two leads which will be followed up.

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    Our meeting took place in the Climate Generations Hall, another enormous complex situated about half a mile (nearly a kilometre) from the Exhibition Hall. This is where a number of the Pavilions are located including UNESCO’s. It will take all of the two weeks to familiarise myself with the layout at Le Bourget!

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    Having Keith and Anika alongside has been a great boon. They have been sending out information through social media at frequent intervals to their various contacts all of which is helping to promote INTO and what it and its members are doing to safeguard the planet

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