350.org Team 350.org Team, November 10, 2010

This day started at 7am, as hundreds of Kiribati people made there way to the Kiribati Parliament, for what has been an historic day for this tiny nation. Pelenise Alofa, the director of Kiribati Climate Action Network, commented to me that "We don't normally do this here in Kiribati. This is the first time that we have seen a rally like this". I've been along to quite a few rallies, marches and protests in my time, and this one was up there with the best of them. The locals had made dozens of banners, to come out and support the intentions of the Tarawa Climate Change Conference (TCCC), with messages like "TCCC give us hope" "We need 350 for Kiribati" and "Climate Change causes women's crisis". There were school and pre-school groups, nurses, the local disabled group, church groups, women's groups – check out some of the photos below. There were performances by the premier Kiribati (and it's pronounced Ki-ra-bis) dance group, and the cutest songs performed by the pre-school group.

Last night our Climate leadership workshop concluded, with all the civil society organisations agreeing on a climate change communique, which was declared at the reception event for the TCCC last night. By the end of the workshop, we had 7 working groups, with action plans for here on in. From local water adaptation plans, to large scale rubbish clean-ups (ok not climate related, but much needed none-the-less!).

The afternoon session is now underway here at the Tarawa Climate Change Conference. Delegates from about 20 countries are here (a mixture of the most vulnerable countries and key 'developed' nations), debating and refining the working documents, with the main theme "Fast tracking the way forward". Unhappy with the outcome of the Copenhagen Accord signed at the end of last year, the Kiribati Government and delegates are hoping to build some momentum to concrete commitments and outcomes from the COP 16 negotiations, in Cancun, Mexico at the end of the month. The delegates are currently discussing Finance, Adaptation, Capacity Building, Technology Transfer, and Mitigation.

It's all kind of wonderfully dry and wonderfully important at the sametime. It's a lot of talk, but it's also an important step for these countries to – by the days end they'll (fingers crossed) have a joint declaration, so that when it hits gametime in Cancun, they've got a plan to get some traction. One of the thorny issues that has just cropped up is around the timeline for reaching a legally binding agreement. Countries like NZ and Australia made a move to keep things vague, wanting to avoid details about the time and extent. It didn't cause much of a stir – in fact, all the countries seemed happy to change the text to be more vague.

I managed to catch the Kiribati President Anote Tong today at lunch for long enough to hand him a 350 necktie. He agreed – "Oh yes I like 350 a lot more than 450". There's a photo of that moment in history below.

And Finally, the articles that Pelenise and I have been working on for The Guardian have gone live:

All the best,

Aaron

Twitter: AaronPackard

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