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  • The Eve of COP 22 – the elephant in the room!

    Posted on November 6, 2016

    Bill Turner photo (C)

    Bill Turner photo (C)


    Well what a build-up it has been preparing the ground for what could be the loudest ‘voice’ INTO has yet had at a COP. Having been granted a side event by the UNFCCC for the first time, we have had a painstaking search for speakers; some could then couldn’t; others, late in replying. But now, on Thursday 10 Nov from 3 – 4 30 pm GMT (also Moroccan time) it will take place and will be recorded live on Facebook on this link:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-m2oy1bnLzocWRks4MGBmGKdcf8Nxuns

    The title is Culture on the Move; Sea-level Rise, Cultural Heritage and Climate Mobility: the speakers will be Victoria Herrmann, the Arctic Institute; Andrew Potts, ICOMOS; Erica Bower, UN High Commission for Refugees; Espen Ronneberg, Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and myself

    The British Embassy in Morocco has agreed to allow us to repeat the event in their Pavilion half an hour later and to allow us another the following Tuesday on a different but related topic, Climate Change; What it means for the natural and cultural heritage and the cultures of the world.

    Speakers for this will be Cathy Childs, Education Officer for the Cayman Islands National Trust, Chloe Hampson, NT EWNI and Fit for the Future Campaign, Elizabeth Brabec, University of Massachusetts Amherst; someone from Kiribati (tbc) and myself.

    Only yesterday I was invited to reprise that presentation at the UNESCO Pavilion this Tuesday at 10 am.

    So we have four opportunities to present the issues on behalf of the membership arising from the recent climate survey and subsequently.

    And why the elephant in the room? Because very recenty I heard the sad story, via the Zimbabwe NT that elephants were dying as a result of climate change:

    “There is certainly an increase in the heat levels in Hwange National Park. This year is particularly hot but so too the last few years. Elephants not only need water to drink but also to keep their bodies cool. Their skin has many small cracks into which moisture is trapped by mud and as it dries the latent heat of evaporation helps to cool them down. It is hard enough providing water to drink let alone enough to keep them cool.

    We are seeing a number of elephant deaths in the Park at the moment. Buffaloes are also succumbing to the extreme heat”

    At each of the 4 presentations I will be showing a 5 min film by Sara Penrhyn Jones entitled ‘Troubled Waters’ which raises the real issues about climate mobility and others besides. The link to the film is here: https://vimeo.com/188959469/6915059445

    Today was spent familiarising myself with my surroundings both at the Riad where I am staying, (along with the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archbishopric of Zimbabwe and Ban Ki-Moon’s assistant!), and at the venue, about 25 mins walk from the riad.

    Inside the riad

    Inside the riad

    I collected my badge, established where the British Embassy Pavilion was and met the organiser, David Harries which was useful. I failed to find the UNESCO pavilion but happily I bumped into Andrew Potts and he was able to tell me.

    I gained the distinct impression that not all the exhibits would be ready in time but there were painters and decorators, carpenters and joiners everywhere ; maybe it will be alright by the morning

    Will they be ready in time?

    Will they be ready in time?

    They seem to be ready!

    They seem to be ready!


    And so say all of us!

    And so say all of us!


    So tomorrow it starts in earnest and as Bill Turner so aptly put it, the marathon begins!

    Oliver Maurice   6 Nov 2016

    Update from Marrakech

    Oliver Maurice reports on his arrival at Marrakech and preparations for COP22.

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