Final day of COP24 leaves more questions than answers

After a mentally intense but very rewarding week, our COP24 delegation had arrived at its last day. With negotiators working well into the early hours of each morning the first draft of the ‘Katowice texts’ was released overnight, leaving many government and non-government stakeholders scrutinising what had been stated and for the most part disappointed in what was put forward.

In an attempt to get a detailed and abridged version of the 137 page document, the first item on the Global Voices delegation’s agenda was to attend the daily ‘Climate Tracker’ meeting. Climate Tracker is a not-for-profit organisation launched by former Global Voices delegate, Chris Wright, which summarises the key events of the previous day, over the two weeks of COP. The overall tone of the meeting was exasperation, with both the audience and panel sharing their mutual frustration in the weakness of the ambition of and the wording incorporated into the text.

The looming end of COP24 created a sense of urgency and uncertainty on the ground. Our delegation was lucky enough to meet with John Connor (Executive Director of COP23 Presidency Secretariat) who spoke about the importance of the Talanoa Dialogue. John outlined the key role the Pacific Islands have been playing in the progress of COP discussions at previous meetings and outlined how this had continued in Poland.

COP24 began to wind down for the non-government stakeholders in attendance, as the time to finalise and agree on the Paris rulebook before the end of the week meant a large majority of meetings were ‘closed’, with seats only available to Government stakeholders. We ended the day at the local Katowice Christmas Market with a reflective discussion about the overwhelmingly positive experience we had all shared.

 By: Joseph Pegler, University of Newcastle Scholar

Al Gore inspires young future leaders at COP24

My attendance at COP24 has opened my eyes to the sheer number of people from diverse backgrounds not only concerned about climate change and its impacts, but who are actively seeking solutions to this global issue. The biggest highlight of my participation was attending a side-event led by Al Gore, in large part due to his ability to communicate in such a meaningful and emotional way to the diverse crowd of people gathered together in freezing Poland.

Gore pleaded with the full theatre to observe and understand the current impacts of climate change and to appreciate how much worse they will soon become. Each example he presented - in high definition imagery or video footage - highlighted the environmental and anthropogenic suffering currently occurring around the globe. The urgency in his voice was tangible as he described example after example of current climate impacts, including increasing death tolls from extreme weather events throughout the USA and mass migration by climate refugees seeking safer lifestyles. Gore also described the increasing loss of arable land around the world that will eventually lead to global food shortages.

Gore is a leader and public figurehead of the climate change movement around the world and his speech was especially inspiring to my own personal development. Gore was able to communicate in a way that everyone understood and could relate to, by using specific examples that impact our personal context. He did this with a passion that emphasised how severe the situation truly is.

Gore finished by saying “If anyone doubts that we as human beings are incapable of rising to this moment, think back to all of the struggles we’ve had in previous history, and how often the odds were against those who chose to do the right thing and ultimately prevailed. If anyone doubts that we as human beings have the political will to make the right choice, please remember that political will itself is a renewable resource.”

By: Joel Wynhorst, Curtin University Scholar

Australia's recommitment to fossil fuels sounds a shaky start to COP24

Our first day of COP, as part of the Global Voices Scholarship Program, comes after a contentious week of negotiations. Perhaps most notable in last week’s negotiations was the IPCC 1.5 degrees report with the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait blocking other countries from ‘welcoming’ the report, only accepting to ‘note’ the findings. The EU, and many African, American and Pacific island nations all pushed for the report to be ‘welcomed’, while Australia notably stayed silent on the issue. This will likely delay negotiations in the middle of next year.

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Global pursuit of the SDGs falling short of the mark: IMF and World Bank call for increased focus on their delivery

Day 4 of the 2018 IMF and World Bank Group Annual Meetings maintained the rapid tempo set by the prior days. The Meetings continued exploring a range of themes from previous days, including: income and gender inequality, enabling innovation in the developing world, and environmental pollution. Discussions on these topics merged into a common thread that ran through the day: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

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IMF & World Bank Annual Meetings, Day 4: Fintech is an opportunity, not a threat, and other key takeaways

When I first viewed the agenda for the IMF & World Bank Annual Meetings, I knew that day four would be one to look forward to. Digital was the theme of the day, and I was extremely excited by three flagship events that would discuss the disruptive impact technology is having on achieving development goals and financial stability: Harnessing Technology for Inclusive Growth, the Bali FinTech Agenda, and the Human Capital Index.

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Gender Equality and Human Capital: Let's Value People, rather than their Economic Contributions

The sun has just set on day four of the IMF & World Bank Annual Meetings here with the Global Voices delegation. As usual, we have had an engaging, diverse, chaotic, exhausting, and rewarding day. Today marked International Day of the Girl. It was an incredible day to watch discussions, summits, launches and panels discussing the importance of addressing and investing in women and children, particularly girls.

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