The Conference of the Parties (COP) is an annual global summit on climate change where 196 member countries and regional blocks such as the European Union (EU) assess progress in dealing with climate change and negotiate on legally binding obligations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The event consists of a number of parallel meetings, including those of subsidiary bodies, temporary working groups and signatories to the Kyoto Protocol. The COP also includes official and unofficial side events, an exhibition and a large number of other events aimed at raising awareness around climate change.
Marina Coetzee, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture and Spatial Planning, represented the institution as part of the Namibian delegation to the UNFCCC COP20. She was accompanied by Dr Johan Coetzee, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences, who was also invited to be part of the Namibian delegation.
The two academics focused on the side events and networked extensively with exhibitors and a variety of other organisations present at the COP. The side events provided an opportunity for observer organisations to highlight numerous climate change issues at UNFCCC conferences and focus on information dissemination, capacity building, policy discussions and legitimising global governance.
“Taking part in the side events and networking proved very useful as we gained a lot of information that we can implement in our training at the Poly. Our participation also uncovered a number of opportunities for research, collaboration, funding and staff and student exchanges with other institutions and organisations,” said Dr Coetzee.