COP17 - United Nations Conference on Climate Change - Durban, South Africa. Event presented to all Freemasons by the Masonic Press Agency of Romania (APMR)

Security implications of climate change

The conference showed how the U.S. Department of Defense responds to climate change through adaptation policies. Commander Scott Bunnay (Office of Strategy - Department of Defense) was the one who presented and moderate the conference.

Amanda Dory participated in the conference via a video conference, live from the Pentagon. She talked about the trends that the Department of Defense sees as shaping the future security environment. She also spoke about challenges and opportunities that are encountered in this process: first order effects, security implications and potential opportunities. She also summarized the National Security Strategy and the National Military Strategy.

Rear Admiral David Titley (U.S. Navy) made an overview of the situation and showed how the U.S. Navy is working with other countries to reduce risks of climate change.

John Conger had a direct intervention from the Pentagon, in which he talked about the issue of freshwater resources in Africa, drawing attention to several African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Southern Sudan, South Africa etc.), Asian countries (countries of the Arabian Peninsula, Near East, Iran, Pakistan, India, China, Mongolia, etc.) and also European countries (Poland, UK, Germany etc.).

Also, Conger presented the African countries with which the United States are working in this field: Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and almost all countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Rear Admiral Titley responded to a question of APMR's Secretary-General regarding the relationship with Russia (Our Secretary-General ask if the mentioned issue of the Arctic is a global matter, could RADR Titley tell us something about the level of collaboration with the Russian Navy?).

Titley's response was positive: "Russian security services in June 2011 attended a meeting organized by the United States where they sent three three-star generals. There were technical discussions this year in Moscow. On the Alaska-Siberia coastline there is daily cooperation and both sides know that they do not live in a vacuum. It is an important and professional relationship and we will continue to work with them."

COP 17 and water resources in Africa

Yesterday morning there was a discussion about water resources in Africa. The discussion was attended by Cecilia Khupe (USAID Southern Africa), Dr. Pius Chilonda (International Institute of Water) and Dr Lindiwe Sibanda (President FANRPAN).

Momentum for change the climate change

Pathways to Clean Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa

The event started at 17:00. At the conference the panelists were Cleveland Thomas (Energy Adviser for Sub-Saharan Africa - USAID), Oton Iskarpatyoti (Deputy Director API) and Phindile Nzimande (President NERSA).

Iskarrpatyoti explained that the most common problem within the environmental program is the funding. He also pointed out that there may be differences in the governments.

Climate change and technology initiatives

On December 5, 2011 was held a conference on the importance offered by the U.S. Department of Defense to climate change. Live from the Pentagon was Shannon Burke (Assistant Secretary of Defence) and on behalf of the University of Texas spoke Ashley Moran. Also, Rear Admiral David Titley (U.S. Navy) spoke at the conference.

Titley talked about energy efficiency and changes in the Arctic, two subjects that concern the Department of Defense and specifically the U.S. Navy.

REDD+ in the heart of Africa

The conference took place at 13:00 (December 5, 2011) and discussed about the projects in Central and Western Africa. Eric Postel (Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade at USAID) said that "we are committed and engaged in all issues of global warming in the Congo Basin."

Other speakers who participated were John B. Flynn (CARPE Director - Environmental Program for the Central African region), Flory Boramba Esombo (REDD - WWF), Martin Tadoum (COMIFAC Deputy Executive Secretary) and Kenneth Angu Angu (IUCN - Regional Director for Central Africa Program).

Martin Tadoum (COMIFAC Deputy Executive Secretary) answered a question (CARPE have been working in both Gabon and Cameroon. Gabon is recognized worldwide for transforming its environmental national strategy in a national strategy for sustainable development. We can say that Gabon has better policies on the forestry sector than other countries in Central and Western Africa?) put by APMR regarding the positive example given by Gabon (Gabon President Ali Ondimba Bongo is the Grand Master of Grand Lodge of Gabon). Tadoum said that "Gabon is not the only advanced country but also all COMIFAC's members that provide forest management at the political level."

Think globally and act locally. Co-side conference at the COP 17 Summit

On December 5, 2011 at 10:30 AM was held a conference on local implementation of actions to protect the environment. The U.S. Consul General (Taylor Ruggles) in Durban opened the proceedings by inviting Reta Jo Lewis to address to the attendees. Reta Lewis (Global Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of State) spoke about the importance of collaboration presenting generalities.

Mary D. Nichols (Chairman California Air Resources Board) said that Governor Schwarzenegger played an important role in implementing environmental policies, California being leader in environmental policies.

Thomas Peterson (President of the Center for Climate Strategies) talked about the different laws, projects and actions that occur in the United States, stating that all of them rely heavily on direct investment. He also noted that Kentucky has adequate policies, although it has a very high level of carbon dioxide emissions.

Also, with an intervention of a specialist from China Mr. Peterson recognized that each Chinese governor is obliged to perform the five-year plan both economically and in terms of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. He also added that they have much to learn from the Chinese authorities.

APMR's Secretary-General addressed a question to the President of the Center for Climate Strategies regarding partnerships: In California these partnerships are developed only with local authorities or also with NGOs or companies engaged in promoting at a local level the Eco friendly way of living (according with the US/Californian policies)? Can you give example of several successful actions?

Thomas Peterson said that "Sharing experience mobilize people working together. Each company has a group of employees interested in this. Often government does not invest as much as the involvement of these groups. It is a place for each one of us at this table. Even individuals can do something."

The participation of the Masonic Press Agency of Romania at this event is due to the communication system of the Department of State, for which the Secretariat General thanks, considering the American initiative as positive for the international community.