As the plane touched down in Roissy, our stomachs began to feel like they were being swarmed by hundreds of butterflies. This was it! We were in France for COP21 as Republic of Kiribati delegates. After settling into our quaint flat in the 18th arrondissement, we quickly made our way to Le Bourget, the site for the climate change conference. Swarmed by thousands of delegates, we registered and made our way into the respective halls. We saw booths representing various nations from both the developed and developing world.
We met up with our Kiribati delegation, speaking with Choi, the Climate Change Coordinator for the delegation. We were assigned different sessions to cover. Laura and myself attended a G77+China working group, while Rija and Kadra sat in on a session discussing climate finance. The sessions were very insightful and eye opening on the issues being discussed, along with the amount of hard work that each delegate was putting forth in those rooms. We closed the day with the Opening Plenary of COP as COP President, H.E. Mr. Laurent Fabius, was presented with the Draft Paris Agreement by the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.
Sunday morning started with a breakfast meeting with our delegation, along with surprise guest H.E. President Anote Tong. We had a couple of hours to wander around the centre and then headed back to Le Bourget where there were more sessions to attend. The evening ended with a special event hosted by the Coalition of Atoll Nations on Climate Change (CANCC) at Le Musée de Quai Branly. We had the pleasure of watching a documentary exploring what it means to be on the frontline of climate change followed by a soirée.
Stay tuned for more,
Vidya Nair is a first year Master of Development Practice candidate at the University of Waterloo and will be attending COP 21 as part of the Republic of Kiribati’s delegation, a small island nation located in the South Pacific. Her research interests include clean water, education, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), economic development, gender and development and resource management.