UNFCCC COP18 Highlights: By Marufa Ishaque, Bangladesh

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SIMPLE BUT SPECIAL: UNFCCC COP18

Standing near the giant spider in QNCC

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.

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Bird’s eye view of the Persian Gulf

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Doha city

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

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

With our Palestine guide Muhammad

Sea….sea….sea….

Sea….sea….sea….

Unforgettable Landscape………

Unforgettable Landscape………

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

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
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)

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.

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Doha Reflection: By Rozita Singh, India

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Our experience at COP18, Doha as Asia Pacific Youth representatives

40 participants from 13 different countries came together to participate in the ‘Asia Pacific Youth Forum on Green Economy’ held in Kathmandu, organised by: The Small Earth Nepal (SEN), the Consortium for Capacity Building (CCB) at INSTAAR at the University of Colorado, Boulder and the Asia Pacific Mountain Network (APMN) of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). It was a 5 day long learning programme focused on understanding the concept of Green economy through lectures, field visits and knowledge sharing.

At the end of the forum, we collectively came up with an outcome document which was to be disseminated during COP18 in Doha, Qatar. It demanded 6 action points as a youth appeal: Green Entrepreneurship; Sustainable Energy; Low carbon economy; Climate change adaptation; Collaboration, Policy Implementation and Monitoring; Youth Empowerment and Inclusiveness.

(https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5ou-4sv4VO_b2QyckdwVy1GWFE/edit)

For this purpose, I along with 3 other participants were selected by the organisers.

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From Left to Right: Rozita Singh from India, Timila Dhakwa from Nepal, Marufa Ishaque from Bangladesh and Netra Chap from Cambodia

The agenda for our week long stay in Doha, was to give out our declaration, copies of which we were carrying on recycled paper. In addition, we spoke about the document and the ideas highlighted in it on Mountain Day 2, which was organised by ICIMOD as a side event during COP (held on December 3).

We also attended various sessions at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), the venue for the conference, with topics ranging from informal meet of ad-hoc working group on LCA, discussions on green climate fund, finance for adaptation, solid waste management session by ISWA etc. We also attended our country briefings and side events. Two of us also got a chance to interact with Lord Nicholas Stern (the famed author of the Stern Report).

Interaction with Lord Nicholas Stern

Interaction with Lord Nicholas Stern

The third annual World Climate Summit (held on December 2) was one of our most memorable experiences. We met climate leaders from various organisations and countries including the IPCC vice chair Professor Jean Pascal.  We spoke about our declaration to almost everyone we met and ‘promoting green entrepreneurship through the Green Climate fund (GCF)’ was the centre stage of our discussions.

Besides professional and personal growth, COP18 gave us an opportunity to network with youth delegates from across the world.

Asian youth delegates from China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Myanmar, Pakistan came together to revive the ‘Asian Youth Climate Network’.  Preparations for this began a month before reaching Doha and during our stay there, we met regularly and organised Knowledge cafe sessions. We shared our learnings at a mini side event on the last day and came up with a strategic plan for future on how to keep this movement on and encourage youth environment action in our countries. We plan to stay in touch throughout the year as a group united for a common cause. Attending this conference, gave us a broader perspective and the ‘larger picture’ only motivated us more towards working for the environment with even more dedication.

At the mini side event on 7 December, L to R: Youth delegate from Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea and me from India

At the mini side event on 7 December, L to R: Youth delegate from Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea and me from India

Group pic with all the Asian youth delegates

Group pic with all the Asian youth delegates

Fore more visit: http://rozitasingh.blogspot.in/2012/12/cop-experience-part-2-highlights-of-my.html

Mr. Binay Sah attended the interaction program on “Developing Toolkits and IEC Materials of Climate Risk Management”

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Mr. Binay Sah, an intern, SEN, recently attended the interaction program on “Developing toolkits and IEC (Information, Education and Communication) materials of Climate Risk Management” which was organized by Nepal Academy of Science and Technology under a NAST-UNDP cooperation project ‘Development and Dissemination of Climate Risk Management Toolkits and IEC Materials’ for the Sub- National Level stakeholders, Media, Communities and Students on 21st of December at NAST.

The proposed Climate Risk Management Toolkit comprised of posters, brochures and documentary. It was prepared by conducting research, workshops at the community level in the Central Region focusing to cover the three ecological regions of Nepal. The districts selected were Dolakha (Himalayan region), Sindhuli (Hilly region) and Mahottari (Terai region). Through different presentations, organizers emphasized on the causes of climate change in Nepal and pointed out that Natural variability, Human Induced Actions and Greenhouse Effect were the major causes of climate change in Nepal. Organizers also, highlighted on the contents of the Toolkit materials. Then, a documentary of 32 minutes prepared for Climate Change Risk in the three districts covered was shown.

During the program all the participants were provided with a feedback form to comment on the toolkit materials presented and the floor was made open for discussion. participants suggested to make the documentary more focused on climate change issues than explaining on Nepal’s background to make the language simpler by avoiding scientific terms or replacing by English while some  recommended to make the data and charts easier by putting legends.

Congratulations to SEN’s new interns!

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The Small Earth Nepal (SEN) has been providing internship opportunities to the fresh graduates every year. Three Graduates have been awarded the internship this year.

In response to the online application called till 7th December, 2012, three graduates from different disciplines were selected among the huge number of applicants. The selected interns are now actively working with SEN from 16 December 2012 for a period of three months.

CONGRATULATIONs!

  1. Mr. Binay Sa Kanu, M.Sc. Environmental Science (Thesis Year), TU
  2. Ms. Nicky Shrestha, B.Sc. Environmental Science, KU
  3. Ms. Roshana Maharjan, M.Sc. Environmental Science (2nd year), TU

Ms. Kabita Gautam participated in Renewable Energy Learning Conference 10-12 December 2012

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Ms. Kabita Gautam, Program Assistant at The Small Earth Nepal (SEN), participated in the “Renewable Energy Learning Conference” on 11 December 2012. The conference was organized by The Renewable World.  The session “Markets, Technology, Information and Renewable Energy Session” was chaired by Ms. Jo Kelly form The Renewable World with a statement, “Are markets the best way to bring the benefits of renewable to the poorest? What role can subsidies and information flows play?” There were four presenters who shared their knowledge, ideas, experiences and vision on the following topics.

  1. Sustainable energy markets for low and middle-income economies: appropriate support mechanisms & the renewable energy regulated purchase tariff.
  2. Technology and markets in Bangladesh.
  3. Breaking down differences in information access to empower the poor-experiences from Bangladesh.
  4. Rural market pockets and the role of the private sector.

Ms. Gautam shared that the session was useful as there were so many new technologies introduced by the presenters which the local people can easily implement as per their requirement.

Congratulations to Mr. Arun Bhattarai!!

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Arun's Marriage

We, on behalf of SEN family would like to congratulate Mr. Arun Bhattarai, Executive Member, The Small Earth Nepal, for his prosperous and happy married life.