COP15 - Copenhagen Archives
Daily Reports from Brahma Kumaris Delegation at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark took place 7th -19th December 2009. It included the fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the fifth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 5).
For a detailed summary of negotiations, see: www.iisd.ca/vol12/enb12459e.html
The Brahma Kumaris international delegation was headed by Sister Jayanti, European Director, Brahma Kumaris and its NGO Representative to the United Nations, Geneva.
The team comprised: Arnold Bekees, Holland; Golo Pilz, (solar energy consultant) Germany/Madhuban; Julia Grindon-Welch, ( UN Office) New York; Patricia Itergurri ; Piero Musini, (Natural Farming/ Yogic Agriculture) Gubbio, Italy; Renaud Russeil, France; Sonja Ohlsson, (Green Team Coordinator) Copenhagen, Denmark; Valeriane Bernard, (UN Rep.) Geneva, Switzerland; Winnie Nielsen, Denmark.
Monday 7th December 2009
After long lines for the conference registration, Renaud, Arnold, and Patricia went to the Government meeting and NGO Forum while Sister Jayanti, Julia, and Sonja went to the Religious Leaders meeting.
COP15 Government Meetings, where Brahma Kumaris have observer status.
The main government groups seem to want an agreement, however there are differing opinions as to whether it will be successful or not.
On Thursday the NGOs will submit a declaration to the Governments, but there is no mechanism for the governments to respond. There is, however a coalition of NGOs -- Climate Change Action Network (CAN)
Gathering of Religious Leaders in support of COP-15 (December 7th–13th)
Sister Jayanti is one of the 35 religious leaders who have been called together by an organization called the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW). The theme of the gathering is Addressing Climate Change by Awakening to Oneness. BKWSU, Denmark was thanked, in all the literature and also at the opening plenary on Monday afternoon, for all the help that they have given as a local partner of this event.
This afternoon's session consisted of a welcome by long time friend, Dena Merriam. Dena is part of the Call of the Time network and has worked with the BKs on many occasions. Rev Joan Brown Campbell, Chair of GPIW, facilitated this session which consisted mostly of introductions, some shorter than others. The religious leaders were diverse and colorful in their robes and gave many interesting perspectives on spirituality and climate change and the task ahead of us. A few I will mention here:
Tuesday 8th December 2009
Presentation by Sr Joan Chittister, Benedictine Nun, Renowned Author, and Prominent Voice in Interfaith spoke of Judeo-Christian story of creation. There are two versions of the creation story. The first, the masculine domination of the scriptures, has been used to dominate: Come now gentleman – God creates man in His own image – be fruitful and multiply, have dominion over every living thing. You can have it all; it is all for you, it is all here to satisfy your needs. Everything physical is to serve man alone; humans are beyond nature. Those who have the resources dominate; those who do not have the resources are made the resources.
She then spoke of the second story of creation: the Companion Story – God brings all creatures to be named, to be known, bringing humans into relationship with the rest of creation. This relationship is what makes us like God. Domination is destructive; being in relationship makes us care for creation. We must see creation differently, speak about it differently; we must put the second creation story back and change our story"
Wednesday 9th December 2009
A Day of Media Interviews!
COP 15 – Bella Center
Sister Jayanti, Sonja, Julia, Patricia, Winnie, and Arnold set off to COP15, the government meeting. This was Sister Jayanti, Sonja and Julia's first visit to the Bella Center, as they had been involved with the Religious Leaders meeting up until now. After registering we familiarized ourselves with the huge conference venue, visited the BK stand, had a meeting with Climate Change TV person, Anna, who was organizing an interview with us later in the day, and sat in one of the main plenary sessions of the climate negotiations.
Just as we sat down in the packed conference room, Mr. Vijai Sharma, IAS Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests was about to speak. This was perfect timing. Patricia recognized him as someone she used to work with, and a little while after his intervention she called him out of the conference room to meet with Sister Jayanti. A very lovely meeting took place where he acknowledged the importance of the presence of spiritual leaders and organizations such as ours. He said that during these negotiations we work at a different and much needed level which helps the negotiators, such as him, do their job and move things forward.
Thursday 10th December 2009
Meetings with UN Secretariat
Sister Jayanti and Renaud left early for the Bella Center for a pre-arranged meeting with Preety Bhandari, Financial and Technical Support, Climate Change Secretariat. The negotiations are basically divided up into five themes. Finance is one of them, which Preety Bhandari heads up. This was a very pleasant meeting; Preety was very open and listened with attention to our spiritual perspective.
On the way to the meeting, which was in high security private offices of the secretariat, they met by chance Mr. Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCC. It was a brief but pleasant exchange; Sister Jayanti gave him our BK Statement and a diary.