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  • Gore and More – Oliver’s Blog from Bonn

    Posted on November 11, 2017

    The Indonesian and Fiji Pavilions have played their part in some of the more noteworthy events that I have attended. On Thursday Hashim Djojohadikusumo and Willie Smits gave an excellent joint presentation on their agroforestry scheme which is effectively about restoring deforested areas in Indonesia using sugar palm planted in a mix of other trees. The palm trees provide not only sugar but by-products such as ethanol, drinking water and biochar which is mixed with compost and when spread on the ground can capture carbon, acts as a fertiliser and water retainer. Perhaps most importantly it is revitalising local communities as well as mitigating climate change so making those communities more resilient.

    During a refreshment break after the event I was approached by a Ugandan who told me he worked for a national ecological conservation NGO in Kampala. After a short conversation during which he told me he knew of Emily Drani, our Vice Chair, he told me he intended to join INTO

    L to R- Willie Smits, Sarah Queblatin (GEN from Manila) and Pak Hashim at our stand

    On Thursday we had another joint side event with Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), Open Team and the Nordic Folkecenter, this time in the UK Pavilion. It was effectively a repeat of the one we held two days earlier although there were fewer people. GEN has around 16 people here at the COP so it can be a little crowded around our stand. Interestingly they are divided into a number of different delegations from the various regions of the world where they operate – a lesson there for INTO maybe!

    On the way out of our side event a queue was forming, at the next door Indonesian Pavilion, for seats to hear Al Gore. Space within was severely limited though I managed to obtain standing room about 5m from the platform.

    Crowds waiting to hear Al Gore

    The heat in the room was indescribable causing Al Gore to comment that he hadn’t anticipated an Indonesian climate in the Pavilion!

    The man himself!

    I suspect we were mostly there under false pretences as he only spoke for about 5 minutes, mostly to thank the Indonesian government for inviting him although he did drop a pearl in answer to the one question that was posed. He told us that he was not against nuclear power but that it was extremely expensive to produce by comparison to renewable energy from wind and sun.

    In the afternoon a meeting of those involved in the Bonn Special Event, being organised by GEN, took place to discuss the finer details. The event will be later this morning (Saturday) from 10 00 – 14 00. I then had a meeting with the Director of Environmental Education in the Ministry of Environment in Burkina Faso who also is president of a conservation NGO. He had attended the earlier side event and was interested to learn more about INTO.

    I also had an invitation to take part in a studio debate here in Bonn on Monday on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Costing the Earth’ programme which will be broadcast on Tuesday.

    In the early evening Keith Jones and I attended the launch, by the Attorney General, of the Fiji Climate Vulnerability Assessment in their pavilion. A model of how to make Fiji resilient to the major threats it faces from natural disasters and climate change. And tomorrow afternoon we have our own side event in the same pavilion

    A pow-wow at the Fiji Pavilion – drinking kava from a coconut shell. Life is never dull at the COPs!!

    Oliver Maurice 11 Nov 2017

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