Launch of the COP21 in Canberra
On the evening of 30 November at the Residence of France, representatives from the international community and Australian Government came together in a show of support for the crucial United Nations climate summit being held in Paris (the COP21) where representatives from all over the world are meeting until 11 December with the aim of limiting the rise of average global temperatures to two degrees.
The Embassy of France, the delegation of the European Union and the Embassy of Norway organised the #COP21Canberra event to coincide with the opening of the COP21.
The event saw over 250 representatives from government, think tanks, the media, the education sector and the diplomatic corps participate in a very special reception on the grounds of the residence.
The key note speech at this symbolic event was be given by the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Steven Ciobo. The Minister focused his speech on the work that the French government has done to make the COP21 conference a success.
The Ambassadors from France, the European Union, Norway and Papua New Guinea, as well as the director of the United Nations Information Centre in Canberra, also gave a joint address, highlighting the collegial spirit of the this joint initiative.
The European Union’s chronometer launched 205 days counted down to zero to mark the beginning of the climate change talks in Paris. There were live crosses throughout the evening on a big screen to the arrival of around 150 Heads of States and Governments at the conference site of Le Bourget.
A highlight of the evening was the emphasis put on recycling and not wasting food. This would not have been possible without the fantastic work of OzHarvest, who are the first perishable food rescue organisation in Australia collecting quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivering it, direct and free of charge, to 600 charities. Homage was thus paid to the climate lunch served at the Heads of States and Governments meeting in New York on 27 September, as part of a United Nations campaign against food waste called ‘Think. Eat. Save’”. All the leftover food from the event was recycled for a community event this evening in Canberra.
A number of diplomatic missions contributed in kind and by providing staff and chefs who were able to showcase the best food their countries have to offer.
Entertainment for the evening was provided by the Canberra Girls Grammar School choir who sung a number of climate themed songs as well as some French classics.
The #COP21Canberra event was also made possible with the support of the British High Commission, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Embassy of Morocco, the Embassy of Italy, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the High Commission of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, the Embassy of the Republic of Peru, the Embassy of Sweden, and the United Nations Information Centre for Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific. As well as sponsors Pernod Ricard Winemakers and OzHarvest.