The really impressive point coming out of this COP so far is the need for us all to work together collaboratively to stem global warming. A side event yesterday, with many speakers from Small Island Developing States (SIDS), entitled Disappearing Islands, highlighted the issues, many of which appeared in the film ‘Troubled Waters’ which I showed at the Workshop on Climate Change at the ICNT in Bali. In that film, the opening and closing remarks were made by the ex-President of Kiribati, Anote Tong who was one of the speakers at the side event.
The links between the people and their heritage is so strong in the South Pacific that they are desperate not to be forced to leave as a result of sea level rise caused by global warming. He told us that they are considering a number of options for mitigating including building floating islands but they needed to deal with the issues collectively.
Another speaker in her 5 minute presentation told us to remember the 3 Threes: We are currently on course for 3°+ global temperature rise and a 3m sea level rise by the end of the century and we have 3 years left to sort it out. Five of the Solomon Islands have already disappeared, many are suffering serious erosion causing villages to be abandoned to the sea with the consequential loss and damage both to the inhabitants’ tangible and intangible heritage.
On a positive note, the Seychelles Ambassador told us that as they are a high income island they don’t qualify for certain grants but nevertheless they had managed to obtain $20m across the board from the World Bank by having the will to “go out and get it”!
I passed by the Green Climate Finance (GCF) stand where a poster displayed the following: ‘GCF’s Private Sector Facility (PCF) aims to engage the private sector to support climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in developing countries’. This I will follow up.
Our own official UNFCCC side event took place at the end of this morning (Wed). Ably moderated by Paul Allen from the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in North Wales, it featured 6 other speakers including two from the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), two from the Nordic Folkecenter and one from Open Team as well as myself on the Challenges and Solutions to the Management of Heritage in the Face of Climate Change. As we had only 7 minutes each it did not allow for in depth presentations so it is good that we have 5 more opportunities to make our voice heard.
And talking of voices being heard, one of the speakers had composed a song for us all to sing at the end, including the audience of 50 to 60. Pak Hashim should have been there!
One more side event later in the day took me to the Indigenous People’s Pavilion where I listened intently to the issues being faced by Peruvians in the Amazon rain forest. One speaker told us that international support was desperately needed to conserve the Amazon forests: “We need to have the territories secured rather than in the hands of bureaucrats who are deforesting” he said. I tried to speak to him afterwards but his English and my Spanish were on a par – non-existent! I did manage to give him my card pointing out that our website had a Spanish translation.
One upshot from our side event was a meeting at the end of the day with Kosha Joubert, the CEO of GEN, to explore how the two organisations might work together in the future – more of a brainstorming session at this stage but with some interesting possibilities for the future
Oliver Maurice 8 Nov 2017