The United Nations Climate Change conference (COP23) kicked off yesterday in Bonn, with the island nation of Fiji presiding over the negotiations.
COP23 is divided into two zones: the Bonn Zone and the Bula Zone. The Bula Zone is where the actual climate change negotiations are being held, while the Bonn Zone is holding an array of climate action events and exhibitions.
This year, nations such as Fiji, France, India, Korea, Malaysia, Norway, Russia and the United Kingdom are hosting pavilions in the Bonn Zone, as well as international organizations and NGOs such as the World Bank, International Union for Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund.
No where to be seen…
A United States pavilion was noticeably absent this year in COP23. In these pavilions countries and organizations present on issues related to what happens in the climate negotiations. Unlike what has been seen in the last summits this year there is no visible presence of the United States and leaves a certain vacuum in COP23.
However, abandoned spaces are soon embraced by new actors such as China and other countries that fill these spaces assuming leadership.
COP23 the Pacific Climate Change Conference
The island-nation of Fiji play a prominent role in the Bonn Zone. The Fijian pavilion is hosting multiple side events and live Fijian music is heard at the conference throughout the day.
La Ruta del Clima was fortunate to co-host a side event on the first day of the conference, Pacific COP 23: Yardsticks for Success.
La Ruta del Clima co-hosted COP23 Yardsticks for Success
In addition to La Ruta del Clima, panel members included representatives from the Climate Action Network, World Resources Institute, and the Green Education Center. Topics covered were climate finance, public participation in climate governance and environmental education. Panel members discussed their hopes for COP23, the link between access to climate funding for island nation and justice, key elements to progress at COP23 and the next steps for reaching the $100 billion goal set forth in the Copenhagen Accord and reaffirmed in the Paris Agreement.
Role of Women as Healers of the Ocean at the Frontlines of the Climate-Development-Nature Nexus.
Following the Yardsticks for Success meeting, I attended a second side event: Role of Women as Healers of the Ocean at the Frontlines of the Climate-Development-Nature Nexus. It was presented in English and, at times, Fijian by representatives from Fiji, Germany and the Netherlands. The role different women play along the front lines of climate change was highlighted. A community leader, professor and WWF representative were among those who discussed the importance of gender sensitivity in developing climate policy and the role of women in the community with respect to climate mitigation and adaptation.
“I ask that we come together in harmony. One spirit. One heart,” said Penina Moce, a WWF Ocean Climate Witness from Kabara Island, a 30-square kilometer island in Fiji that has already been strongly impacted by climate change. “We work together so that the future of our children and future generations can be restored.”
Carol Puha, the facilitator of this event, closed with a quote by German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”