Two nights ago we were watching a super-super moon where the moon appeared bigger and brighter than for many years. And it will be many years before it happens again.
This morning we had a little more moonshine in the form of Ban Ki-moon, the outgoing UN Secretary General. It was his last appearance at the COPs where he has been a stalwart supporter of the civil society movement. On this occasion he was fervent in his praise for civil society, for their passion in supporting the UN at the COPs.
Words must be translated into action: it will require continuing commitment to stop temperature rise from going over 3.4°C above pre-industrial levels, the current prediction at present levels of emissions.
He referred to civil society being “the Kings and Queens without crowns!” We need to raise our voices as loudly as possible and next year he will join us in the ranks! We need to make the world a better place for all people.
Back at our stand there have been many interesting passers-by and I have sent membership application forms to no less than 10 organisations with still more to follow up. I have been surprised by the number of people showing a genuine interest in our work, from Guatemala to Mauritius, the Seychelles to Peru, as well as many more in Southern Africa.
I had a late morning meeting with Stephen Cornelius from WWF following on from a meeting Catherine had with members of the organisation earlier in the year and then spent much of the afternoon in the Green Zone. I had intended to listen to a side event on the agricultural heritage of Morocco, but sadly, it was cancelled as soon as I got there.
I soon found, by pure chance, an adequate substitute in one of the pavilions, about the management of national parks and nature reserves in Morocco and Gabon. I asked the presenter afterwards if it was all state owned and was told it was. In further discussion I learnt about the King Mohammed VI Foundation, set up to support the protection of nature. I noticed later, on their website, that they have a number of partners including UNESCO, IUCN and
Conservatoire du Littoral. I will follow up to see what opportunities there may be for INTO to partner the Foundation.
The Green Zone is an extraordinary mix of pavilions, innovations including an amazing array of cars run on renewables, stalls selling herbs, spices, argan oil products, honey and varieties of couscous, and other displays of North African trade. I came across the High Atlas Foundation during a brief tour who seemed very interested in our work when I explained what INTO was about.
Back at the stand and with the full team reassembled, we had a Skype call, organised by Cathy Childs, with one of the schools on Grand Cayman, each of us in turn talking about our own experiences at the COP and then responding to questions from the pupils; nothing like education at first hand!
We followed that with another podcast before leaving the Conference Centre for a well-earned supper near the main square, Jemma el-Fnaa, after which Geoff and I said farewell to Cathy and Chloe who are leaving in the morning – a sad moment indeed though the moon was still shining!
Oliver Maurice 17 Nov 2016