Supporting action on climate change: Pole to Paris in Mongolia

Sep 6, 2015

From 1 to 5 September 2015, UNDP Mongolia together with partners hosted the Pole to Paris campaign (www.poletoparis.com) that journeyed through in Mongolia on its way from the Antarctic to Paris. In December 2015 Paris will host the important the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or COP21. The outcome of this meeting will affect billions of people. To drum up public support and awareness ahead of COP21, a British scientist Daniel Price has embarked on the Pole to Paris cycling campaign: “It’s not an understatement to say that future of the planet and of human species is dependent on this meeting.”

To inspire youth and public to deal with the climate change, to mainstream relevant knowledge and to promote awareness and action on this burning issue, Dr. Daniel Price conducted a number of public outreach events on his visit to Mongolia. On Wednesday and Thursday 2-3 September, he talked with young Mongolians, including the members of UN Youth Advisory Panel and other youth organizations.

On Friday 4 September, a consultation meeting was held in the UN house. The UN representatives, UNDP project staff, development partners, government representatives, youth and media discussed the climate change and its impact on Mongolia. Opening remarks were made by Ms. Beate Trankmann, a new UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Oyun, Member of Parliament and President of the UN Environmental Assembly, and Dr. Daniel Price.

As Ms. Trankmann noted: “Mongolia is extremely vulnerable to climate change due to its geographic location, vulnerable ecosystem, people’s lifestyle and economy. In the past 70 years, the mean temperature increased by 2.07°C, meaning considerably faster than global average. Mongolia is also ranked 8th among over 100 countries in the Global Climate Risk Index of 2014.”  However, the UN and UNDP stand ready to support countries in the needed transitions to cleaner and low carbon development models and to build more resilient societies that adapt to climate change. One of the UNDP Mongolia projects supporting adaptation to climate change is “Ecosystem Based Adaptation Approach to Maintaining Water Security in Critical Water Catchments in Mongolia.”

Ms. Trankmann emphasized that ”to tackle climate change, the whole world must develop differently. All of us must change consumption and production patterns and this requires engaged citizens and bold leadership…The time for all of us to act on climate change is now in order to save the planet for future generations to come!”

On Saturday 5 September, a public cycling event was organized in the National Park, Ulaanbaatar. Around one hundred cyclists gathered to show their support toward action on climate change. The event was opened by Ms. Trankmann, followed by Dr. Price’s speech. Then, the cycling parade took place. Not only Dr. Price and the UN representatives Ms. Trankmann and Mr. Thomas Eriksson mounted their bikes, but also the Ambassador of Turkey to Mongolia, Mr. Murat Karagoz, the director of the Park, Ms. Batsukh Saranchimeg, the Youth Cycling Group "Залуу дугуйчин” and The Global Green Growth Institute. The whole event was closed by planting trees in the Park and the flash mob forming the “COP21.”

2015 is a pivotal year for global action to address the pressing climate change. The responsibility to act lies on all of us as Mr. Price concluded: “Our choices over the next decade will determine what world awaits us for the next century and beyond. We are already late to this race, and it is now all of our responsibilities to ensure we now run as fast as we can to the finish line.”

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