What’s happening at the climate change meeting in Montreal?

Canada, Nunavut and Inuit activities planned for next week


The international gathering on climate change starts next week in Montreal. Often referred to as MOP or COP-11, this meeting marks the “meeting of protocol” and the 11th “Conference of the Parties,” made up of those countries, which signed on to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Throughout the Montreal meeting, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, the UN, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Government of Nunavut, and Canada will present special information and events to promote interest in climate change and the Arctic.

The UN’s recognized side events with a focus on the Arctic include, on Dec. 2, ITK’s official launch of its Unikkaaqatigiit book, a four year study of climate change and adaptations in the Canada’s Arctic, and, on Dec. 7, an ICC panel on “The right to be cold: Inuit defend their human rights in the face of climate change.”

Throughout the conference, Canada, as the conference’s host country, is sponsoring “parallel” events — its so-called “world of solutions” — including panels, exhibits and other activities. With a few exceptions, A World of Solutions is open to the general public. Many activities take place in the Guy Favreau complex in downtown Montreal.

That’s where on Dec. 6, Canada is presenting “Arctic Day.” As its conference web site says, Arctic Day will “highlight the impact our changing climate is already having on people, communities and ecosystems in the Canadian and circumpolar North.”

On “Arctic Day” there will be cultural performances by the Aklavik drummers and dancers, throat-singers, a fashion show including designs from Nunavik and Nunavut, speeches by ICC president Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Andy Scott, federal minister of Indian and northern affairs and other officials as well as panels on the human impact of climate change and the role of traditional knowledge in understanding Arctic warming.

Many special interest groups are also holding events during the conference. On Dec. 5 the David Suzuki Foundation will host a “Too Hot to Handle” concert with some of “the coolest acts in the country,” including Les Cowboys Fringants, The Stills, and Kid Koala.

Environmentalist and broadcaster, David Suzuki, will speak about the urgent need to address climate change, along with fellow climate warriors Watt-Cloutier and former vice-president Al Gore.

Nunavik singer Elisapee Isaac will also perform three times during the next two weeks. Taima will perform tomorrow night at the Montreal Biodôme, Sunday at the Métropolis theatre for an Equiterre fundraiser and again on Dec. 6 for the U.N. conference delegates.

To learn more about the U.N. Climate Change Conference, go to www.montreal2005.gc.ca .

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