OSI was pleased to have had the privilege to make its own contribution at the historic Conference of Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which has just ended in Paris with a new legal framework on climate change.
Background: At the Rio 2012 Rio plus 20 Summit, Mr. and Mrs. Alvarez (co-founders of OSI), together with the Government of Kenya, with the then Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment of Kenya (Member of OSI), now climate change adviser to the President of Kenya, and the Deputy Director General of the United Nations Environment Program (Mrs. Amina Mohamed, now Foreign Minister of Kenya), the Assistant Secretary General of the UN for disasters (Mrs. Margaret Wahlstrom), as well as Dr. Wendy Watson Wright, the then Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, and the Secretary of Interior of the Governor of San Andres in Colombia, started the process, together with Dr. Sebek entitled “tri continental dialogue to defy disasters and respond to climate change”. The sequel was held in Doha, Qatar at the 18th session of COP, and then in Lima in December 2014 when OSI held its own conference on the eve of COP20.
Commissioner and Mrs. Alvarez were successful in applying to the United Nations to hold a side event on tricontinental process at the Paris COP. The side event was held on 5th December 2015 in Room 6 of the COP Centre.
The following activities were undertaken:
- On the 2nd December, Mrs. Alvarez with her partners, with OSI as a participant, opened an exhibition of paintings, symbolizing the role of art to confront challenges of climate change at the Booth 42 of COP21.
- Mrs. Alvarez was a high level panelist , with a assistance of Mr. Sebek, on 3rd December at UNESCO commemorating, in the presence of the Assistant Secretary General of the UN and Director General of UNESCO, Dr. Irina Bokova, the International Day of Disabilities through a program of art as a tool to promote measures to combat climate change. Another member of OSI Advisory Board, Mrs. Ivonne Baki, a newly appointed Ambassador of Ecuador to six Arab countries with headquarters in Qatar, was also in attendance.
- On 4th December, Mr. Sebek joined Mrs. Alvarez at the Press Conference at COP21 highlighting the UNESCO event.
- On the 5th December, Mr. Sebek joined a high level panel as moderator during a side event where the following presentations were made: By OSI Members Commissioner and Mrs. Alvarez, by Mr. Nassir Khattak, member of OSI and Director of Climate Institute, Mr. Ali Mohamed, the newly appointed climate change adviser to the President of Kenya (also OSI member) and Dr. Yumkelle, the former head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and current candidate for the Presidency of Sierra Leone. Additionally, in view of tight security measures, two people and OSI members or contacts, could not attend in person but submitted video presentations which were screened in Paris. The first one was Mr. Francois. Baird, member of OSI and Chairman of Edelman, Africa and the second one by the newly elected Mayor of the City of Cali in Colombia and his designated Secretary of Education, Mrs. Luz Elena Azcarate. The presentations were followed by the exchange of views with the audience.
- Mrs. Alvarez, on behalf of her organization but also on behalf of OSI held two press conferences on 11th December at COP 21. At one of them, the paper of Mr. Dieter Rudolph from Lima was highlighted and in another the work which OSI carried out with the City of Cartagena on the protection of architectural patrimony of Cartagena from climate change.