Sunday, 29 November 2009

Copenhagen, Baby!

The Copenhagen 4 inspect the giant ball covered in all the delegates handprints and climate statements.
UNICEF UK/2009/Rowan Boase

The Copenhagen 4 have arrived! We’re all really tired from our first day hard at work at the Children’s Climate Forum, but our levels of enthusiasm and excitement are at an all-time high!

We arrived on Friday evening and settled into the youth hostel which is putting every one of the 45 delegations up for the duration of the Forum. We (the boys) found our first friends from another delegation in our roommates, who come from Turkey. They speak good English, which helps!

We got up for a 7.30 breakfast, which is pretty much the earliest I have woken up on a Saturday since I was in the womb. Having headed across to the City Hall (which is an AMAZING building – it looks like it has come straight out of the Middle Ages!), we got to setting up our exhibition stand about UK culture. It was really great to see all the delegations in one room together and to start to mingle. We made loads of really good friends – from Poland, Kiribati (which is pronounced Kiribas), the Maldives, New Zealand, Greenland, Hong Kong and from loads of other places too!

Katie adds her thoughts to a poster.
UNICEF UK/2009/Rowan Boase

We then had a plenary session in which we discussed what was going to happen during the week and had the opportunity to get to know the facilitators a bit. The opening ceremony was an awesome experience – we got to see the best of Danish carol singing and ballet dancing and heard brief speeches from some important local people. The Forum was declared ‘open’ upon the lifting of a giant ball covered in all the delegates’ handprints and their climate statements – it was quite a spectacle!

A tatste of Danish culture at the opening ceremony.
UNICEF UK/2009/Rowan Boase

In the afternoon we got into some more detailed discussion about climate change, COP15 and our role in the climate debate. It is a truly quite profound experience to sit in the midst of 160 young people who, with their widely varying cultures, backgrounds, experiences and thoughts about climate change, have nevertheless congregated with a single-minded aim: to get something done about it. Striking also was the realisation that we in Britain still see climate change as a threat to our futures – having heard a snapshot of others’ experiences of climate change, it is clear that for many of the people we are with, it is a very real and present threat to their communities’ ways of life.

The delegates get to work.
UNICEF UK/2009/Rowan Boase

So having found out a bit more about what the next week holds for us and having made some great new friends, we are really looking forward to having a fantastic Forum. So to sum up, in the words of our Turkish roommates, today was ‘tiring but funky’.

Luke x