In every Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP UNFCCC) I attended since COP 13 in Bali, Indonesia held in 2007, I tried to look for events related to communications.
The first Climate Change Communications Day was organized in 2011 at COP 17 in Durban by the International Institute for Environment and Development and the Internews' Earth Journalism Network. It was a forum for journalists, bloggers, press officers, academics, scientists, IT specialists and communications experts to exchange insights, learn lessons and innovative new approaches on how best to communicate climate change issues.
The Role of Celebrities
At COP 21 in Paris at the end of last year, the UN Climate Change Secretariat Roundtable Discussion on Climate Change Communications had celebrities talked about different ways that they are reaching the public to raise awareness about climate change, through informal channels. The speakers were Angélique Kidjo, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador; Bianca Jagger, Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador; Blanca Juti, Chief Brand Officer, Rovio Entertainment Ltd; David de Rothschild, UNEP Climate Hero; Donald Ranvaud, Producer, Creative Director and Max Schorr, Co-founder, GOOD.
Although communication is rarely a keyword in many of the events, the COP itself, in my opinion, is the biggest and the best place where you can experience and learn about the practice of environmental communications in the truest sense of the word.
As illustrated by COP 21 figures, in the Conference Center (Blue Zone) there were 2500 negotiation meetings, 202 side events and 203 exhibits. While at Climate Generations Areas dedicated to knowledge, exchange and debate there were 70 film screenings, 340 conferences, and 100 stands.
The UNFCCC Secretariat encouraged virtual participation for those who could not be in Paris by accessing the process through this link.
There were also other and outside events, and pavilions such as the United States, the European Union, China, Japan, Africa, the Gulf Cooperation Council and Indonesia, with most of the information listed here.
Organizers of Country Pavilions that offer programs and events worked hard in attracting audience through print, electronic and social media (apps, websites and other tools). The Climate-L mailing list of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin seems to be the best tool to communicate upcoming events and to share information.
The Indonesia Pavilion was first held at COP 13 in Bali and again annually since COP 17 in Durban.
As a form of an outreach campaign, the Indonesia Pavilion was organized at COP21 with the main theme: “Solutions to Climate Change”. It has a wide variety of programs including 55 sessions of panel discussions, networking events, Indonesian culinary festivals and cultural performances. Several national and international eminent speakers were present such as Indonesian CEOs, representatives of NGOs, Ministers, Head of UN bodies, The Hon. Al Gore, world scientists and religious leaders.
Focusing on the use of advanced information technologies to display climate change data to minimize printed materials, four touch-screened LED TVs were installed for interactive digital communication; several climate change video projections were mapped into the wall of the Pavilion for a cinematic experience. A website, social media, and mobile applications were continuously updated to ensure timely information to visitors.
All of these programs and technologies, which showcased Indonesia’s support for the global long-term goal voiced by Indonesian negotiators through real actions by various stakeholders, were packaged in an enchanting traditional Indonesian design with Batik-motived walls and souvenirs as well as entrance gates with culture-rich Balinese concept.
The Pavilion team, mostly climate leaders who have been trained by The Hon. Al Gore, also featured several images of Indonesia biodiversity icons such as orangutans, Rafflesia arnoldii and underwater biota, as the highlight of the Pavilion’s wall. They turned out to become favorite spots for photo background by visitors.
Pictures of Indonesia Pavilion grazed national and international media. Attended by not less than 5000 delegates from various countries, the Indonesia Pavilion was one of the most visited Pavilions in COP21.
A complete list of speakers, presentation materials available, and session photos can be downloaded here.
I guess I elaborated on Pavilions not only because of my experience with Indonesia climate leaders in the Indonesia Pavilion Team for the last five years, but also because Pavilions are good to partner with if an organization is interested in organizing events in addition to the Exhibit Booth or a Side Event where one country/organization is only allowed to have one event.
Article 6 of the UNFCCC, now termed Actions for Climate Empowerment deals with education, training and public awareness. It is also the best venue for contribution and participation related to climate change communications.
Text and Image:
Manager, The Climate Reality Project Indonesia