Monday, December 10, 2012

In Photos - COP18

I just returned from Doha, covering for eight days the UNFCCC Climate conference (COP18). Compared to COP17 which was held in Durban, South Africa last year, this year's COP was quieter as the total turnout of people - at least journalists - was much lower. But there were some interesting sights nonetheless. Sharing here some of those interesting moments from the event that can be called the Kumbh Mela of environment.
Doers, in the middle of talkers. The three winners from (L-R) Turkey, Haiti and Uganda of 'Land for Life award', given by United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). In a town full of bargainers and talkers, it was refreshing to meet these three people who were working hard to reclaim, save and improve the quality of land in their respective countries.

The venue  - Qatar National Conventional Center (QNCC) was huge.  Really, really huge. And so was pretty much everything - the meeting halls, staircases and even the washrooms. But compared to COP17 in Durban, the total turnout of participants was much lower and it showed. The press section was particularly quieter and empty at times. Only 400 journalists turned up this time, compared to 3000 in Durban.

At the entrance of the huge Qatar National Convention Center or QNCC, there is this huge iron Spider. Got lost? Meeting someone? Waiting for someone? Reading the site map? You do that all near or under the spidey. Quite a design by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki!

 The negotiation did not have much to celebrate, but  at the China booth it looked quite festive
 At each end of  the QNCC, there is a  big, luxurious, Arabic tent-styled lounge. Typically, there were more people in the tent than in the meeting rooms, discussing strategies and policies. This is probably because the burst of colors all around made the place far more livelier than the meeting rooms.

Adding to the colors, as always,  were people in traditional attires, making a statement about how important their cultures and traditional practices were and how climate change was threatening to destroy them. Sometimes, however, I felt that people wore an ethnic garb, just so they would not get lost in a crowd. This lady from Kenya was one of them.
T-shirts were, as usual, another effective way to make a statement. I particularly liked this one; it kind of sends a message to the official negotiators: we are watching you!
Banners and posters were quite eye-catching too, though the numbers were fewer than what I saw in Durban. Recession? Unavailability of booth space? Or, plain lack of interest? I hope not!
Talking of posters, I found this one quite breathtaking. Have no idea who stuck it on the wall - but to me, it was a 'cracker of a job'!
The organizers took all the selling business away from the conference venue. Yet, a few things were selling right within. And this beautiful solar panel tree was one of them. Its actually a laptop/mobile/camera charger. Priced around 600 Qatari Riyal
This one wasn't for sale, but if it was, I wouldn't hesitate buying it. Cardboard boxes have never looked this cool, have they?
So, what's god gotta do with climate change? Ask Soham Baba. He probably has an answer to this. He certainly has answers to quite a few other questions including, while nations keep haggling over carbon cut, what can we do? The answer is: go green, do your bit!
Providing some comic relief to the extremely serious, but also mostly depressing situation was the daily Fossil of the day award ceremony
No trees cut to organize this conference! A bit of good news there
This was the final photo I clicked at COP18 and it gave me a lump in my throat. When will the negotiators from developed countries ever feel that pain?

1 comment:

Al Baddad said...

Hello Stella,

We just want to say thanks for your kind words of appreciation regarding our tent and Arabian decoration.

Best congrats to your mission and cause, we would love to read more about your stories and be part of it. AlBaddad Team