By Andrea Arzaba:
COP16 is over, and we did not leave empty handed! While some news organizations have stated that COP16 was a failure, others showcased a more positive attitude.
Personally, I think that Cancun was a key to revive the negotiating process toÂ combat climate change, which means progress.
Definitely: a long and tiring process. It was my first COP and I must say IÂ learned a lot during these last two weeks, perhaps much more than what IÂ could have learned immersed in books and news of the summit. I want toÂ share some points that I consider key to understanding a little more of theÂ final conclusions from the climate summit:
I really hope what Mexican negotiators stated will become a reality, andÂ I’ll be tracking down these negotiators and key players, who have shownÂ exceptional work during the past two weeks. Because it is now, after the talksÂ when real work comes!
Going back a few days and remembering my personal highlights, I wouldÂ like to talk about two people that I had the opportunity to talk to, whoÂ changed my perspective on the International fight against Climate Change.
First of all, as a part of the “Adopt A Negotiator” tracking team, we had theÂ chance to meet the secretary of the UN Framework Convention on ClimateÂ Change (UNFCCC), Mrs Christiana Figueres.Â I must admit that she is a very nice, down to Earth woman. Born in CostaÂ Rica, Figueres feels passionate about her homeland being affected by climateÂ change.
There was a special moment on the chat we had where I asked her what wasÂ her motivation in combating climate change. Her answer left me speechless,Â as with tears in her eyes she said that the main inspiration was “us, youngÂ people”.
She explained that she felt guilty about the planet her generation is passing on to the new ones, as every day, we have more species approaching extinction and people dying because of human actions on the planet.Â Another great moment that will remain in my mind was when I could ask aÂ question in the plenary directly to Mexican President: Felipe Calderon.
I was nervous at the very beginning, when he chose me to talk and ask aÂ question in front of the negotiators and ministers at the plenary. But then,Â when I started speaking, everything seemed to make sense.Â I asked the perspective of the president on youth as activists andÂ communicators, observers or leaders on fighting climate change at theÂ conference. I asked if our voices had been heard.
Being able to raise my voice, and represent youth voices that had beenÂ working with or around me was very significative for me. The president mentioned theÂ importance of having youth as an inspiration for negotiators, and as a way onÂ supporting and helping the process.
COP16 was a great experience but I will keep on following the process afterÂ Cancun. If you would like to know more about it do not hesitate to follow meÂ on twitter: @andrea_arzaba or read my posts at: