Monday, December 13, 2010

A Climate Change Agreement!

Early Saturday morning, negotiators settled on a climate change agreement!  This agreement is a broad framework that lacks specificity, but this international agreement is a solid beginning. 

Highlights of the agreement include a climate fund for developing countries, youth and non-formal education mentioned in the text of Article 6, and 1.5 degrees stated in the shared vision. 

During climate change intersessional meetings in 2011, countries will continue to work on the text, and there is hope for a fair, ambitious, and binding deal at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa.  In South Africa, nations will continue to negotiate the climate change agreement in working towards a commitment to science-based targets and a legally binding mechanism. 

Cancun was successful in paving the way for Durban in 2011. Our WAGGGS delegation worked very hard this year, and we are proud of our impact at COP17.  We look forward to educating our own communities about climate change and taking action back home to better the environment, remembering to "Think Globally. Act Locally." 

Yours in Guiding and Scouting,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

COP Day 11

1.5 Degrees Standing Action.  The youth at COP16 held a banner and flags to recognize the 106 countries who support reducing emissions so that global temperature rises less than 1.5 degrees.

Holding the flags of nations in 1.5 degrees action. 

Felix, a 12 year old boy from Germany, planted one tree for each country at the conference center with the help of world leaders and Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.  Felix's goal is to plant trees in every country in the world. 

Youth gathered and planned for a final action at COP16: counting together the 21,000 people who have died because of climate change this year.  It was a very emotional action for many youth, especially those who have lost family and friends due to natural disasters. 

Suseth reading her sign, "1.5 to stay alive" for the final action. 

COP Day 10

Banner with signatures and messages for a Fair, Ambitious, and Binding Climate Change deal made by the New Zealand Youth Delegation. 

Inside the Cancunmesse!  Many side events and exhibition booths were housed in the Cancunmesse.  
Today, I participated in youth working group meetings for the last time, participated in the gender caucus, and attended a side event about gender and finance. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

COP Day 9

Meeting with USA lead negotiator on Capacity Building,
Barbara DeRosa-Joynt
This morning I met with Barbara DeRosa-Joynt who is the US lead negotiator on capacity building.  She is a powerful leader for the US and a former Girl Scout!  We spoke about the success of the contact group on Article 6 and the gold stars that the Article 6 contact group negotiators earned.   We discussed the impact of Article 6 and its unprecedented success in reaching an agreement in a 90-minute contact group.  In the remainder of the COP, nations will negotiate and the COP will hopefully end with a climate change agreement. 

Girls and Young Women Policy Working Group Meeting with Tracy (Unifem)
Katy, Bronwyn, and I met with Tracy from Unifem about next steps for the YOUNGO girls and young women policy working group.  We discussed organizing an intergenerational event with the gender constituency to connect older and younger women on gender issues and to discuss our perspectives on feminism, personal responsibility to impact climate change, and the relevance of social media in the climate change discussions. 

Tracy suggested that we focus our efforts in capacity building and strongly recommended sending more youth to intercessional climate conferences throughout the year. 

High-Level Briefing with LCA Chair
Mrs. Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe
Bronwyn Hughes, WAGGGS youth delegate, asked a question about the likelihood of 1.5 being included in the shared vision text.  The LCA Chair responded that the shared vision is limited and is going to be transparent.  Margaret wants to resolve the balance of issues in debate.  1.5 degrees is included in brackets still, but she hopes that the compromise to have below 2 degrees is agreed upon. 

Civil society is concerned about the shrinking of the mention of human rights in the text as well as the shift of the mention of “Mother Earth” from the shared vision to a footnote of an Annex.  On issue of human rights and “Mother Earth,” we need to streamline the concepts relevant to stakeholders.  Margaret encouraged countries to push forward in the process and stated that we need a decision in Cancun.

COP Day 8

Our final mini-side event!  A group of youth from Indonesia joined us for a climate change game! 

I attended the Opening Ceremony for the High Level Segment!  I was very fortunate to get a ticket since very few seats were reserved for civil society.  It was inspiring to hear speeches by the COP president and a representative speaking on behalf of each of the negotiation blocs.  The Prime Minister of Kenya is in this photograph.  He spoke about the need to move forward in the negotiations because "we owe it to our children and humanity in general." He also stated, "Mountains cannot meet.  But people do.  Let's join hands in partnership for future generations." 

Monday, December 6, 2010

COP Day 7

A meeting of women leaders! 

A photo with Mary Robinson who is former president of Ireland and president of the Mary Robinson Foundation. 

Climate Change Solutions: The Superpower of Women and Ideas

Women are the most vulnerable to climate change but the best poised to be agents of change. Today, we attended a side event about women and leadership!  The panel of powerful leaders was chaired by Mary Robinson (President Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice) and included Christiana Figures, Connie Hedegaard, Lykke Friis, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, and Patricia Espinosa.  The panelists suggested a multi-faceted response to climate change that includes —mitigation, adaptation actions, education, ending poverty.

Lykke Friis (Danish Minister for Climate and Energy and Minister for Gender Equality) began by quoting Margaret Thatcher, “if you want something done, ask a woman!” She stated that women are not at top of climate negotiations but are hit hard by climate change so need to be empowered. Women are key to beat climate change and poverty by first beating energy poverty since 1.4 billion people lack access to electricity. 

Christiana Figures, Executive Secretary of the COP began by stating that she is “particularly pleased to see young people in the audience.” Young women must be completely empowered to do work to fight climate change.   Women still cook with open fires so are directly contributing to climate problem with uncontrolled black soot.  Christiana stated, “Women are the most vulnerable population in the world—in charge of procuring water, cooking, walking to collect fuel wood, growing food.  We educate our children in sustainable or unsustainable behaviors.”   In terms of vulnerability, we have a huge role as part of the solution. 

Patricia Espinosa (President of COP16) said, “Women have a greater role in international relations than ever.  We must bring a gender perspective to the many issues that are being discussed in Cancun” Gender issue is a central part of the process. Everyday there are more leading women in positions, but women are still underrepresented. 

Maria Fernanda Espinosa (Minister of Heritage from the Republic of Ecuador)
said that leadership is not only taking decisions at the highest level; leadership also relies on all of the power of women warriors struggling for their survival and the survival of their families.

Connie Hedegaard (European Commissioner for Climate Action) stated that people need to have stories that make climate more people-centered: gender perspective is so important. 

It was inspiring to hear from these accomplished women who are leading the fight for human rights in climate change. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A day off from COP16 spent at Isla Mujeres!

The beautiful beach in Mexico!

Fish in the clean water. 

Relaxing a the beach!