Welcome el Presidente

As  delegates from nearly 200 different countries congregate to the humid shores of Cancun,  Seb and I familiarise ourselves with the logistics that surround such an event.  ‘Find the venue’ – check, ‘Get your security badge’ -check, ‘locate a Daily Programme’ – check, ‘attempt communication in span-english to locate the necessary venues’ – check (but definitely room for improvement).

Today is Day one – negotiation sessions are opened, and side events are kicking off. This morning el Presidente of Mexico, His Excellency Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa, attended the opening session.  Bizarrely this event was reported by AFP news as “Opening ceremonies were to include an address by President Felipe Calderon, who has declared war on Mexico’s powerful drug cartels”. I hope he didn’t use the opening session of this climate conference to focus on drug cartels?

The opening address by Christiana Figueres (Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC) highlighted the urgency to weave a ‘richer tapestry of efforts’ in order to achieve the full and effective implementation of the Convention. This was enhanced with a localised sentiment from the heart:

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to COP16, welcome to CMP6! Welcome to the land of the ancient Mayan goddess Ixchel! Next to being the goddess of the moon, Ixchel was also the goddess of reason, creativity and weaving. May she inspire you – because today, you are gathered in Cancún to weave together the elements of a solid response to climate change, using both reason and creativity as your tools.

Right, time to attend some side events – which today are mainly focusing on REDD+ and Biodiversity – and meet some of the UNITAR project partners present in Cancun.