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  • We are all in the same canoe

    Posted on November 7, 2017

    A second blog from COP 23

    The words of the Fiji Prime Minister during his opening address at the Fiji Pavilion, which would ring painfully true if only everyone was on board.

    This COP is being funded by the German Government but hosted by Fiji so it was appropriate that their two pavilions should be not only the largest but at the entrance to the Pavilion Hall. On the opposite side is the Indonesian pavilion and close by, but much smaller, the UK pavilion.

    All but the German pavilion will play a part in INTO’s advocacy efforts over the next days with side events in the Fiji and UK pavilions, where I tied up a few loose ends, and presentations by Hashim Djojohadikusumo and Willie Smits on Thursday in the Indonesian one. Even the German one, which serves free coffee, may have a part to play!

    A first meeting with the representatives from the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) and Open Team, who are sharing our booth, took place on Monday morning as we ‘established’ our foothold in the Exhibition Hall.

    Our space is very minimalist by comparison to previous COPs with only a back wall of which the TV screen takes up a large part. So with the banners in place there is no room for posters. This is all in line with the UNFCCC Secretariat’s ambition to make the COPs paper free.

    GEN held a side event in the afternoon and it was really interesting to hear about their various projects around the world demanding so much community involvement as well as contributing to adaptation to climate change principles.

    Later I called at the UNESCO Pavilion where Andrew Potts and I will be speaking on Wednesday week. I liked the title of their stand!

    Our hosts from Fiji invited all delegates to a welcome party in the evening, catering for upwards of 500 people who stayed on. The Fiji Premier was once again much in evidence and, so far, appears to be enjoying his role as COP President! We were able to take part in the traditional ‘Pow Wow’ custom of drinking a mixture of ground up pepper roots and water (Kava), clapping once before drinking and 3 times afterwards. At the party I met an old friend from many previous COPs and with whom I shared an Airbnb last year in Marrakech, the Catholic Archbishop of Zimbabwe!

    The Fiji Pavilion

    Keith Jones making electricity by walking on special pads in the UK Pavilion.

    The canoe in question under construction in the Fiji Pavilion!

    Oliver Maurice, November 7, Bonn

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