#2 Inside COP21 – Selina from the Marshall island reports

Having just finished my chocolate brownie and now drinking on my Arizona Green Tea with honey drink is a bliss. My feet too are taking a rest after a long day of walking in heels that I really regret bringing and wearing.

Across the table is the Minister deBrum sitting with several other delegates from other countries in the Pacific like FSM (Federated States of Micronesia), Fiji, Kiribati, etc. They just finished chanting a traditional chant that a group is supposed to do when they are drinking kava. Kava is a traditional drink popular all over the Pacific, often dubbed as the social drink as it brings a lot of people together in a small or a big, depending on the size, circle and start the process by first clapping the hands three times and then drink, sometimes people chant the traditional chant, but it is optional.

It has been a long day indeed and all the delegate members are taking a rest from all the stressful meetings. I, myself, have lost count as to how many meetings the Minister, our negotiators, and I had to run back and forth to. Talks went from discussion of loss and damage, mitigation, adaptation, objectives and implementations of objects, and so much more.

Our day started off very early in the morning. Sleeping around two in the morning after doing some homework and then waking up at five in the morning and taking a taxi to the minister’s hotel where we took a taxi van he reserved, he was interviewed the entire way and the rest of the day by a reporter from NPR (National Public Radio).

When we arrived, we went immediately to one of the many rooms where a meeting was held by the former vice-president who served under Bill Clinton, Al Gore, also very active in the environment field.

Delegates were seated at their assigned places, and you constantly see delegates coming in late and going out in the middle of the meetings because they had other meetings they had to attend that required their delegate to say their piece. Which was also the case with our delegate.

Observing these meetings, I was reminded of my last MUN in UWC Robert Bosch College. Our MUN group, there were moments where we were not as focused and went off-topic and there was always that one very efficient delegate who would remind us that we need to stay focus because we are going off-track. This was the same case here.

At one point, Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was heading one of the meetings mentioned that they all knew each other very well and have no need for formalities and speeches, just jump right into the matter at hand especially since time was limited. I applauded him silently for this. For it was obvious that everyone knew each other well with the informal way they were addressing each other, not using the formal language my MUN chair and co-chair back in UWCRBC tried to instill in us delegates. Then the meeting started to progress.

All in all, I am very hopeful. Many of the countries attending stated that they are aiming for 1.5°C. This is reassuring.

Selina

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