Prior to and during the recently concluded COP17, I attended many meetings on women, gender and climate change. Following climate change debates and getting a handle on all the players and issues involved in this complex topic is quite daunting. One of the issues still debated is a conceptual one; whether discussions should focus on women and climate change or gender and climate change. Both would take their place in climate change discussions, but they would require different approaches.
It is 5:30 pm in Durban on 6th of December 2011, the 9th Day of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP 7) to the Kyoto Protocol. The High-level segment has started and I am sitting watching the big screens in the second row in the King Protea Plenary hall, which is an overflow area from the main plenary hall- the Baobab hall. I am in the midst of the COP17 negotiations. Since I arrived in Durban for COP17 every morning I have taken a 25 minute bus ride from Umhlanga up the coast on the Indian Ocean, to the conference centre the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC). At the start of the day I am very keen to get a copy of the daily programme to familiarize myself with the happenings of the day and a few documents highlighting the previous day's negotiation sessions. I am often torn between what events to attend as there is so much going on in various locations both inside the ICC and beyond and my day is spent attending negotiation meetings, that are open to observers and NGOs, attending official side events and press briefings. It is important to be up to speed with the current status of the climate change negotiations.
The support of SMART Agriculture and forests at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban, South African, in order to promote eucalyptus in the water catchment areas is of great concern to the Green Belt Movement (GBM).
The Green Belt Movement delegation has been in Durban attending the COP 17 for the past one week. Unfortunately, there has not been much progress at the negotiation front. We have been anxiously watching as the world leaders have started to arrive – hopefully to help resolve the outstanding issues, that include the post Kyoto Protocol commitments which expires in 2012 and the Green Carbon Fund, among others such as the issues related to equity, intellectual property technology transfer (IPRs) and trade.
A presentation at the climate change talks in Durban by GBM focused on our efforts to rehabilitate the Aberdares and Mt. Kenya water towers in Kenya. Senior project officer, Mercy Karunditu, highlighted the great importance of mobilizing community consciousness and action towards community-led adaptation and mitigation activities.
Last week the Green Belt Movement (GBM) and GBM’s technical partners Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) hosted panel discussion on the impact climate finance projects from a grassroots perspective.
On Friday, the Green Belt Movement (GBM), KenyaFEB28 and Kenya Forest Service (KFS) launched the “I am the Hummingbird” campaign with tree planting events across Kenya.
She is not dead,
Who leaves to us this great heritage of remembering joy.
She is still alive in our hearts,
In the happiness we knew, in the dreams we shared,
Big dreams of a greener and cleaner world.
I had the enormous privilege -- and sheer good luck -- to be with Prof. Maathai on an October morning in Kenya nearly seven years ago when she got the news she'd become the 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate. On this day of great sorrow, I thought I'd share my account of that wonderful, happy, historic day, which was published in the Los Angeles Times.
In July I attended a public debate in London on the potential for REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) to make international forestry more just. The debate brought together a wide variety of stakeholders in REDD in order to assess its possibilities and its frailties. The panel leading the discussion included John Vidal from the Guardian and representatives from DFID, ODI, and FERN among others. What became increasingly clear during the debate is that although the international community appeared to be pushing on with REDD, it remains a highly contested and confused idea.