Beach party in the desert
Author: Kerstin Schnatz
They are infamous, a great way to meet new people and loved even by state delegates: The parties of civil society groups during the yearly climate summits.
This year’s party took place on a beach in the middle of the desert, about an hour’s drive away from Doha. We went there to soak up the atmosphere as well as for some late night networking.
DateDecember 2, 2012
TagsAYCM, civil society, climate action network, climate conference, cop18, desert, doha, IndyAct, NGO, oasis, United Nations
Arabs taking the lead in climate actions
Author: Kerstin Schnatz
Goosebumps were guarenteed today, when 1000 people marched the streets of Doha. It was the first time that civil society groups had organized a climate march in the Middle East. The Qatari government, who has not allowed any sort of civil action like this before in the country, showed solidarity with the activists. Doha is currently hosting the 18th United Nations Climate Summit which is expected to end on Friday, December 7th.
Watch our video from the climate march:
DateDecember 2, 2012
TagsArab, civil society, climate action network, climate march, demonstration, doha, emirate, IndyAct, oasis, qatar, YCMA
How to plant a tree inside a building
Authors: Kerstin Schnatz, Klaus Esterluss
They came to COP18 in Qatar to open the eyes of the negotiators, young students from different parts of the world had an idea about how to really grow roots in the heads of everyone at the climate conference. The organization YOUthinkgreen planned to plant a tree made of garbage inside the conference building. The people at the conference should use their “Tree of Hope” to pin their own demands, wishes or fears on it. But a garbage-tree was not allowed on site. So Luisa from Germany, Pavlos who lives in Doha and all the others from YOUthinkgreen had to find another way to bring their message to the conference. They invented the human tree and the tree grew strong and it’s leaves meaningfull and lush:
One of the leaves was written by Ahmed from Qatar, whose thoughts about cars are still not very common in his home country:
DateNovember 30, 2012
1:0 for Bottom Up versus Top Down
Text and fotos by Kerstin Schnatz from Doha, Qatar
Being a monarchy with no elected national parliament up to date, Qatar does not have a history of civil society movements. Despite this lack of democratic history, the emirate currently welcomes civil society delegates from around the world to the 18th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP18) – among them many young people. At Youth Day, youngsters from the Arab world demanded a stronger stance on tackling climate change – in very different ways.
Top down: Qatar’s youth ambassadors
„When I was 18 years old, there was only one flight out of London a week. Now there are seven.“ The Quatari Chairman of the Organizing Committee for COP18, his Excellency Fahad Bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, highlights new study opportunities for young Qataris – like the young Nasser Bin Marzook, sitting next to him on the panel. Nasser and his three fellow „youth ambassadors“, appointed by the government, look down into an almost deserted audience with a mixture of shyness and pride.
17 year old Nasser is still at school. During his exchange year in the USA, he learned about the problems of acid oceans as a result of CO2 emissions. As Qatar heavily depends on sea water for their freshwater supply coming from desalination plants, Nasser wants to spread the word about this problem in his own country. His fellow youth ambassador’s approach, 18-year old Mariam Al-Nesf, is a different one: „Here in Qatar we have no rainforest – but we have mangrove forests that we need to protect.“ Sahar Al Ansari, 18, a Freshman at Qatar University, visited a village entirely powered by solar energy in Brazil and wishes to bring renewable energies to his home country. In Qatar, electricity is still 100% derived from fossil fuels, despite the sun shining almost every day.
Each of the young ambassadors speaks for about one minute, their statements sound wooden, studied for a long time. Questions from the audience are answered by his Excellency first – afterwards the youngsters are invited to add an aftertought. When asked how exactly the Qatari government is hoping to cut down CO2 emissions he becomes evasive and hints to new research funds for climate change issues.
Bottom up: The Arab Youth Climate Movement
At the same time, downstairs, a joyful, colourfoul crowd of young people have come together for what looks like a soccer game. The Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) is holding their own version of a press conference – a much noisier and more chaotic one. AYCM is the first climate movement the Arab world has seen in history. Hundreds of young activists from Qatar and other Arab countries have joined together in the forerun to COP 18.
These young, energetic people also want to influence the climate negotiations – starting with the host nation Qatar: “Now that they have gotten the world’s attention by hosting this COP, they need to demonstrate that they are about more than beautiful venues and a wealthy gas exporting economy.” Ali Fakhry from IndyACT who helped launching AYCM says. It is a pity that the youth ambassadors appointed by the Qatari government can not hear this pledge. They are still inside the conference room taking a group picture with his Excellency.
Climate March: On Saturday, December 1st, the AYCM organises an historic march for climate action in Doha. The Qatari government, who never in the country’s history allowed any similar kind of action before, expreses solidarity with the activists. GLOBAL IDEAS will be at the march to report for you.
Qatar’s new closeness to civil society: During COP18, the emirate is very eager to stress that it has learnt a lesson from COP18. Media events stating “Qatar’s Commitment to Civil Society Engagement on Climate Change Issues” – being the official title of one press conference – are held almost on a daily basis. The Sunday climate march will prove, how eager the Qatari government really is to support a critical civil society in their own country and the Arab region in general.
Follow our GLOBAL IDEAS Facebook page for recent updates from this year’s UN climate conference and the climate march this Saturday.
DateNovember 30, 2012
Tagsaction, Arab, civil society, climate change, climate movement, cop18, doha, monarchy, qatar, YCMA, youth
Get angry @COP18, Qatar
The fourth day of the climate conference in Doha was the official YouthDay, the only day people under the age of 18 could officially participate at the conference. On one panel two grand dames of the climate and human rights negotiations confronted the young people with one particular question: Are you angry enough?
Christiana Figueres and Mary Robinson demanded in direct talks with students from all over the world that they should raise their voices and make themselves heard. The have to show that they care about climate change because of a simple and clear reason: It’s the world they have to live in tomorrow.
Did the youth raise their voices? Come back here tomorrow, to read more.
DateNovember 29, 2012
Tagschange, climate, cop18, doha, figueres, global ideas, human rights, ireland, qatar, robinson, unfccc, youthday