By Claire-Marie Pepper, CQUniversity Australia Scholar
Well, what a week it has been in Bonn. It is sad to think this is the last day of the COP23 conference for 2017 and the end of our wonderful experience. As it was the last day of the event I wanted to make the most of the events and negotiations still available.
To start off my morning I visited the Fiji pavilion. There was a stand where you could put on a virtual reality headset. I entered the virtual reality world and was transported instantly to beautiful Fiji. Looking around me, I learnt about sugarcane farming on the island and the challenges small farm holders face. The virtual reality world was a strange experience that captivated my attention as it was my first time trying this type of technology. It also was an effective way to engage people like myself that have never been to Fiji and get an insight into the daily lives of Fijians at the conference despite being very far away from Bonn.
Next, I decided to attend a side event about the German Government’s renewable energy targets and how they are going to achieve them. The event was structured around different stakeholders from different regions in Germany, leaders from small and large cities so an overall perspective could be gained. With ambition targets of 100% renewable by 2050 it was already exciting but while the discussion was taking place an artist was drawing what was being spoken about. It was a concept I had not witness before and was fascinating to see the concentration and passion displayed from the artist.
Next, my fellow delegates and I participated in a stakeholder event with Australian DFAT negotiation team to give us a final update on COP23. It was good to hear Australia’s perspective about the emission targets, the conferences overall success and their positivity in the progress that has been made.
After the informative meeting, we met with the second in charge of Australia's negotiation team, Assistant Secretary, Ms Andrea Faulkner, as well as Directors Marco Silvio and Matthew Stuchbery. They gave us a more detailed insight into how the conference had proceeded. We appreciated Ms Faulker's and the Directors time and were inspired by their advice and knowledge.
I then participated in a side event called; “What you eat matters: climate change, food security and public health” which took place at the Japan pavilion. Three specialists in each field presented and then explained the cohesion between the three themes and how each can affect each other. It was interesting to learn about the interconnections between emissions, food security/ food production and nutrition and how simple measures from the consumer end can alter all effects.
We all then hastily walked to the Bula zone for our next and final meeting. We met with the amazing Thom Woodroofe, the founder of Global Voices. He is now a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford as well as being a Marshall Island senior negotiator. He is a really inspirational and an entrepreneurial person who is able to create and make opportunities that wouldn't normally exist. Meeting Thom was a really great way to finish off an excellent week in Bonn at the COP23 conference for 2017.
We all no doubt have walked away with exceptional knowledge, growth and experiences that have inspired us all to go forth into the world, take the opportunities provided and channel our passions to make a difference. It has been a fantastic opportunity that I am very grateful for.