UKZN Graduate Shares Insights from COP24 Conference in Poland
A photographer and storyteller who received her Bachelor of Social Science and Master of Agriculture degrees from UKZN, Ms Kiara Worth, presented a public seminar in Pietermaritzburg on the topic of the Katowice Climate Package, using photos she took while attending the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland.
Worth is a member of the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) team which provided daily information on the multilateral negotiations at the conference.
Photographs she took at COP24 have been published by the Guardian and the BBC, among other organisations, and Worth used a series of the images during the seminar to provide a glimpse into the global processes and politics that shape the world of climate negotiations.
Worth began her presentation by explaining that the aim of COP24 was to develop a rulebook for implementing the Paris Agreement, a global commitment to act on greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance.
She described the aims and process of the Paris Agreement, saying the challenge was its implementation, and gave an overview of the broad range of bodies, groups and sections of society represented at the conference and in negotiations.
A key feature of COP24 was the presentation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, and Worth described the reactions at COP24 to the presentation and the politics behind responses from certain countries.
Following this, the Katowice Climate Package was developed and adopted - the global work plan on how to implement the Paris Agreement and curb global warming to 1.5°C. Worth described the forces shaping that agreement at COP24, and questioned what the package offered in the face of growing impacts of climate change and the IPCC’s indication that there are only 12 years left to limit catastrophic impacts.
Describing the tedious, yet exhilarating process of compiling the Katowice Climate Package document, Worth said: ‘You begin to understand the power of words, because every word has meaning and has an implication, and the things we say and the things we write have power. We can start to shape the world by the words we use.’
Worth emphasised the need to take action on climate change, saying she believes united and inspired action can promote positive change.
Acting Dean and Head of the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Science Professor Steve Worth encouraged students at the seminar to become active world citizens, emphasising that each of them, with the knowledge they acquire at UKZN, could do what Worth had done in forging a successful and impactful career.
- Worth visited UKZN as a guest lecturer in the Agricultural Extension and Rural Resource Management programme, sharing the experience she has gained from working all over the world as a photojournalist and publications developer. Worth is a writer, photographer, sustainable development consultant and world traveller, with experience in training, facilitation and empowerment. She has worked internationally for the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and private institutions. For more info, visit: http://kiaraworth.com/
Words: Christine Cuénod