Arrival in Durban!

Arrival to Durban in photos…

The Climate Train team, and presentation of trees to the Gauteng regional politicians.

Exhibitor of renewable technology coming into Africa – solar phone/torch/radio systems and a fan-stove assisted by solar power!

Police escort leading us through Johannesburg and onwards!

Kristian bought a clockwork train with some sweets at the rest stop, which caused quite a lot of amusement!

We arrived into Durban late at night and the Norwegian team split off from the main group at the campsite to go to their accommodation.

In the morning, the African alliance, South Africa YMCA and I went to the main branch of Durban YMCA, where we prepared for the arrival of the other 3 trucks and prepared for the lunchtime workshop on Climate Change that we would be running for our group and the local greater Durban YMCA groups – a productive interactive session, but cut short due to the late arrival of the trucks.

In the afternoon, Tensing went to soundcheck, and Rufus from the SAYMCA team led the Y-zone for children aged 8-10. Alpha (from the organising committee) and I decided to head over the UKZN (University of KwaZulu-Natal) to track down Winnie and the team preparing for the Conference of Youth (COY7) running this weekend. Sadly, we missed most of them, but we did bump into the SABC news team, who seemed fascinated by our story! We’re hoping that will be followed up, but they eventually decided not to give us the 3 minute TV slot they had spare for Sunday night, which was a great shame.

We then headed back on a local minibus transport, which was a bit of a disaster! – The van dropped us in the region of one of the other YMCA branches (Beatrice Street) and we had quite a walk to get there, only to find that it wasn’t the main branch! We thankfully had phone credit to call Sipo from central Durban YMCA, and he was able to send someone to collect us and take us on to the evening YMCA concert…

Tensing do an AMAZING set at the SA-YMCA-led concert at Fortress of Hope Church! There was some fantastic dancers, singers and speakers. We had an evening of joy, celebration and a great Climate Justice focus! – a very successful event.

The concert was called Sounds of the Earth 🙂

In the morning, we headed straight to the 7th Conference of Youth at UKZN. We were still trying to negotiate better accommodation, since there is more rain expected. It has been difficult staying at the campsite 20 minutes out of Durban, leaving early and arriving late, when we know that others of our group and most other youth organisations have some hostel accommodation in the city. But it looks like everything is going to fall through, due to the complications with pre-booking through the tour company. We will persevere for now! I am very grateful to be mocing to join the Youth for Eco-Justice programme today, after the second day of COY, and I will be staying in the lovely Glenmore Pastoral Centre with a few of the Norwegians tonight, before they leave tomorrow. I hope it will be a good last evening for them…

We spotted some local wildlife at the University when we arrived in the morning for the COY.

“The wealth of South Africa will be measured by its ideals, its institutions, its faith, its justice, its standards of public and private life and its development of literature, art and science.”

The 7th Conference of Youth!! (COY7) 😀

I met the UKYCC delegation, many other young people from around the world, we heard some very inspiring and informative speakers and participated in workshops together during the afternoon.

Caravan participants took the opportunity to update their blogs and social media, and check emails about the national youth strategies and negotiating positions, in preparation for the COP. Within the youth, there is a strong consolidated position overall, but even between some countries, we see that people are pushing for slightly different demands.

In our policy group in the evening, we discussed how the caravan group would be an excellent platform for bringing together global youth, since we have a very strong position with many voices already behind it, from our campaign and petitioning through Africa. I think that if we can lead a very strong message, then others will plug into the actions and demonstrations that we organise, very easily.

I can’t wait for the COP to begin on Monday! But equally, the second day of COY today, and the Interfaith Rally tomorrow will be just as exciting, with Desmond Tutu, the SA Foreign Minister (chair of the COP) and bands such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo!

Today, I hope to link with more youth and find out more about people’s plans for action around the UN negotiations. There is a small chance I may still be able to acquire accreditation to enter the main conference hall on week two (the “high content” week) from 5th December, under WAGGGS, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts – which would be actually extremely appropriate for me, since I was a Rainbow, Brownie, Guide, Ranger, Young Leader and unit helper in GirlGuiding UK!

I am also really looking forward to meeting the Y4EJ (Youth for Eco-Justice) participants this evening – 30 other inspired young Christian Environmentalists from around the world. I hope that I’ll be able to find time to compromise between my commitments to Y4EJ, We Have Faith, UKYCC and WAGGGS, as soon as everything kicks off on Monday! All I can say is that I’m going to keep myself busy to make the youth position as influential as possible, through whatever means I can during the programme I am undertaking with the World Council of Churches over the next 2 weeks of the COP.

I hope that I will still have enough time to blog, even if it has to be on a taxi between Glenmore/UKZN and the ICC, the main conference centre where the UN meeting will be held. I hope to hear from you soon, if you have any comments or questions about the COP.

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2 responses to “Arrival in Durban!

  1. Dear Clair,
    We are following you in Abingdon with mounting excitement, and wonder whether you would be up for addressing Abingdon Peace Group on Tuesday January 17th when you get back? Will you still be in Abingdon then?? We had a very good but bleak speaker at our last meeting, on the links between war and climate change, and want to follow it up with something more positive. Let me know!

  2. 🙂 gotcha! Definitely up for that 🙂

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