Seeing the puzzle for the pieces…

Greetings from Durban, South Africa!  My name is Lauren Graham (MEM, 2013) and I am here at the COP17 representing Team Red Cross (TRC) that also includes Kanchan, Vanessa and Sophia from the International Organizations & Conferences course.  This semester, we have been working with Pablo Suarez of the            Red Cross Climate Centre to examine various issues related to climate change and humanitarian response.  I have personally been evaluating how well climate change information has been integrated into the disaster response policy of RC national societies.  Look out for another blog post with a summary on TRC’s work over the past few months.

Here is a brief outline of the categories of issues that I will be following at COP17:

1)    humanitarian and disaster response

2)    mitigation and adaptation funding

3)    climate modeling

4)    poverty and vulnerability to climate change

As I begin to gather information on the emerging discussions around each of these topics, I will provide a more detailed explanation on how and why they are important to the Red Cross Climate Centre, and which organizations and countries are addressing them.

Now I am experiencing first hand what others have said about the experience of being at a COP, in the middle of a huge, unwieldy process, but still with a somewhat limited vantage point.  The best way I can describe it is like trying to assemble a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, but you don’t have the top of the box with the completed puzzle photo to reference as a guide.  Keeping this in mind, one of my goals is to be an informational sponge and to try to make connections between the bits and pieces of information I collect through attending side events and conversing with delegates.

I hope to use this blog as a platform to keep you informed and engaged in the COP17 events, in as consistent and coherent a method as possible.  You can also follow me on twitter @laurenegraham.  Please feel free to send me questions and/or comments on this blog, facebook or twitter.   Special thanks to environmental writing professor, Fred Strebeigh for helping me to prepare my blogging strategy.



(photo courtesy of Google Images)