SIMPLE BUT SPECIAL: UNFCCC COP18
Standing near the giant spider in QNCC
What a giant spider!!! It seems like an angry spider was coming towards me. But that was not a real one. Actually it used to be a very important landmark in Qatar National Convention Centre. If anyone wanted to meet anybody, he just called and asked to come near spider. We also used this landmark for a number of times, for a number of reasons.
I can clearly remember that shining morning day. After passing Persian Gulf, I found myself in a land of sands. Surely my perspective, feelings and experience is not similar to others. Everyone has eyes –can look at things at a time, but can see things differently, can use his brain and heart differently. I reached in a beautiful planned city, Doha, which is the capital of Qatar. I observed and perceived the city, the people, the culture, tall buildings, sea, sky and most importantly COP18.
Bird’s eye view of the Persian Gulf
Finally we four reached in Doha on 30 November, 2012 to attend COP18. I am from Bangladesh, Timila Dhakhwa from Nepal, Rozita Singh from India and Netra Chap from Combodia.
Qatar National Convention Centre was the venue of UNFCCC COP18.
COP means conference of parties. It is the highest and most important climate change conference in the world. Different government negotiators, IGO, NGO people, scientists, journalists, press come and discuss the issues related directly or indirectly with climate change. Sometimes they talk about mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage etc. Really, it needs a lot of patience in doing such negotiations – I think.
Not all the people can understand all the things and all the processes during COP. There are different subsectors in climate change, like policy, finance, culture, health, food security etc.
If anyone ask me about my first impression, I could only say…”I LOST”…then I found myself in the middle of an event, running behind the big big persons to give our declaration.
I think I should say something about this declaration. This declaration is the outcome of Asia-Pacific Graduates’ Youth Forum. 40 Youth from 13 different countries gathered in Nepal in September and came up with this declaration. We five are the luckiest who had given chance to go to COP and present the Asia-pacific youth voice in that global platform.
With Professor Jean Pascal, IPCC Vice Chair
On our first day in COP, we met the Asian Youth Group; we actually tried to explore QNCC and the events around. The next day we attended “Global youth forum on mountain issues and green solutions” in Climate Change Studio. There we met many youth leaders came from different organizations.
After lunch, from my side I can say that I experienced the highest excitement in Doha-we went for desert safari. It was really a breath-taking adventure on sand dunes. I also discovered some unforgettable landscapes in that mysterious desert. We saw the inland sea near the Qatar-Saudi Arabian border. After the adventure, we went to the desert camp. These were like Bedouin style tents, carpeted with traditional seating. We had some tea and photos with camel there and also enjoyed the blue water of the Gulf. After this exciting time we returned to Doha Exhibition Centre. From there we started our journey with others for NGO Party. That party was a very good place for interaction with people coming from different corners.
With our Palestine guide Muhammad
On 2nd December, the whole day, we were in World Climate Summit. It was a very important side-event held in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel. There we met Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCC; Professor Jean Pascal, IPCC vice Chair and many other important persons. The next day we joined another side event. It was Mountain Day-2 organized by ICIMOD.
I met many Bangladeshi delegates during COP. I met the Hon. Minister of the Ministry of Forest and Environment- Dr. Hasan Mahmud; the secretary and assistant secretaries of this ministry. I also met the secretary of the Ministry of Disaster and Relief and many other NGO, youth and presses. According to our previous plan, we, the Bangladeshi youth wore the same t-shirt which was designed as Bangladeshi flag. That experience was wonderful. People came and took photos with us, they talked about Bangladesh, our experiences etc.
With the Hon. Minister of the Ministry of Forest and Environment, Bangladesh
I went early to attend the YONGO meeting on 4 December. Nearly all the young people of COP became a part of this group. Youth discuss about the negotiations, the activities, side-events etc and also share their opinion on a particular issue. Not only that but also they raised their voice where it was needed. I also took part in some Youngo activities. But I thought that this group is somewhat very much activist sometimes. Asian Youth organized a world café on 4 December, which was a very good platform for us to share our declaration.
- One of the several activities of Youngo where I joined
There was also a great event that I liked a lot was “Momentum for Change.” There were some ‘lighthouse projects” that were awarded for their great activities. I tried to attend plenary, but it was very boring for me that time.
We also visited Souq Waqif, Villagio, Museum of Islamic Art, Katara Cultural Village, Aspire Tower, Corniche etc. The time was flying. So, we had to see places within very short time. Our Qatar exploration came to an end on 7 December.
We four: Netra Chap from Cambodia, Timila Dakhwa from Nepal, Marufa Ishaque from Bangladesh and Rozita Singh from India (from left to right)
I heard a lot about climate change during the entire COP, also collected a lot of reading materials. But the feelings and understanding I got from this conference is very simple but very very special.
We have some knowledge about what is happening, what climate change is, its impact, mitigation, adaptation etc. but there are many people who don’t bother. Slum people of my country passing a very tough life, they can’t fulfill their basic needs, even don’t have a sound sleep at night or sufficient food.
People are talking about global warming, sea level rise…do they bother? NO. Why?
We are talking about equity, talking about rights. We have thousands of welfare projects, but have corruption and lack of proper implementation. It is needed to make every person a powerful soldier and walk together.
It’s now my journey to walk for the answer and to seek for a better solution.