Welcome to Day 1 of COP20/CMP10

The VLS COP20/CMP10 observer delegation is on the ground in Lima, Peru.

We arrived in time to spend Sunday settling into our Miraflores apartment and neighborhood; travel to the COP venue across town on the COP20 transit system; get our credentials and take a team photo; and meet with our service learning partner, the Myanmar State Party Delegation.

VLS Week 1 Delegation (L to R): BJ Schulte, Taylor Curtis, Shaula Eakins, Macarena Vassallo, Whitney Beckham, Tracy Bach

VLS Week 1 Delegation (L to R): BJ Schulte, Taylor Curtis, Shaula Eakins, Macarena Vassallo, Whitney Beckham, Tracy Bach

Today, Day 1 of the COP/CMP, the delegation hit the ground running.  We all attended the COP20 opening plenary session, which began with speeches by the outgoing COP19 President, Marcin Korolec of Poland; incoming COP20 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal of Peru; Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Lima Mayor Ms. Susana Villarán de la Puente; and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.  Each speaker sounded themes inherent to their work.  Pachauri underscored the AR5’s alarming finding that even at 2 degrees Celsius, we will still have a “serious problem” with sea level rise. Villarán de la Puente encouraged changes in energy usage and exhorted cities to “fly the flag of a sustainable future.”  COP20 President Pulgar-Vidal hit the desired high notes of his presidency: having a transparent negotiation process, building trust among the parties, and ensuring a high level of dialogue between state parties and civil society organizations.  He concluded with “it’s time to act, time to get to work.”IMG_5212

So too with the VLS delegation’s work!  We’ll blog about each day’s key take aways on the ADP (Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform) Workstream 1 and 2 negotiations en route to Paris, the loss and damage mechanism (LDM), REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Delegation members tracked their issues today at the SBI (Subsidiary Body on Implementation) and SBSTA (Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice) opening plenaries, as well as attended a variety of side events.  We’ll post more on point later tonight.