Bree, Danica and I arrived in Warsaw early on Saturday morning and spent the day exploring the city and the Museum of Modern Art. Ben and Maggie arrived on Saturday evening and joined Beth and us for a wonderful dinner of pierogies, sausages, and potato pancakes. Beth shared useful information from the first week of negotiations and helped us prepare for the second week of COP before leaving early on Sunday morning. On Sunday, we prepared for Monday’s sessions at a cafe, and spent the rest of the day exploring Old Town and the former site of the Warsaw ghetto. Our favorite locations included the Saxon Garden, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (recently opened in April 2013), and the last remaining fragment of the Warsaw ghetto wall.
After becoming acclimated to the city over the weekend, we arrived at the National Stadium early Monday morning to continue WUSICE research on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism)! After registration, we headed to the daily RINGOs (Research and Independent Non-Governmental Organizations) meeting for a brief overview of helpful tips for navigating COP and a Q & A session. We were joined by a number of student researchers and professors from both the United States and abroad. After the meeting, we explored the National Stadium to gain a better understanding of the layout, and stopped by the US and EU pavilions. Shortly after, Bree and I split up to attend different sessions focused on REDD+. Bree attended “REDD+ Standards in a Fragmented Market: What Opportunities Exist for REDD+ Financing?” The panel consisted of individuals from the Global Canopy Programme, Climate Focus, Corporate Partnerships for Code REDD+, Terra Global Capital, LLC, and Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). They discussed the demand gap for REDD+ credits, global understanding of biodiversity standards, and how REDD+ at its best not only addresses deforestation, but also community engagement, the empowerment of women, watershed protection, and biodiversity enhancement. I attended a session at the US pavilion jointly hosted by USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) and the Colombian delegation entitled “Enhanced Conservation and Improved Livelihoods.” The panelists addressed the BIOREDD+ Program, the flagship program of USAID in Colombia, which is a $29.7M program “designed to strengthen Colombian capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change, protect biodiversity, and support the development of remote, impoverished communities.” The program operates in areas of Western Colombia that are largely occupied and owned by Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities that have clear title to their lands under the 1991 Constitution and Law 70 of 1993. The program strives to unite community knowledge and local partnerships to create economic linkages that will improve the livelihoods of the communities that depend on the forests for their well-being. Later in the day, Bree and I attended the “High Level Panel Event on the Land Sector and Forests,” in which high-level delegates gathered and shared their countries’ stances on mitigation, adaptation, and market-based mechanisms aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation, agriculture, and ranching. At the end of today’s negotiations, we plan on attending the Least Developed Countries’ Coordination Meeting to gain a better perspective on how developing countries are addressing deforestation.
It has been an exhausting day, but we are looking forward to conducting some of our research interviews tomorrow morning!