Luis Davila's Blog

sharing thoughts on life, change and innovation…

Bringing a dose of the real world to the international climate negotiations

When I attended my first international climate change conference in Copenhagen in 2009, I was surprised by the limited opportunities to showcase the work that civil society, especially business leaders and innovators, were doing in their communities to tackle climate change.

It was not that these groups were not interested in participating in the conversations taking place in Copenhagen—on the contrary. Unfortunately, there were limited opportunities to share how innovative partnerships were already producing concrete results in the fight against climate change. Such a demonstration could have potentially helped bring together the national governments negotiating the outcome of the conference called the Copenhagen Accord.

Whether or not you think the Copenhagen conference was a success (I had my own thoughts after returning from the conference), one aspect that has substantially improved in the UNFCCC process since then is the ways in which non-state actors are participating and contributing to the overall goals of the international negotiations. Here is a recent interview (in Spanish) with Fernando Tudela, Mexico’s former Vice-minister of the Environment. In it, he explains how the Mexican government purposefully focused on new ways to engage both national governments and civil society to propose solutions to climate change and how this was critical to the success of the 2010 Cancun Climate Change Conference.

This year’s conference in Warsaw took the engagement by non-state actors to another level, truly turning the Warsaw conference into an opportunity to showcase concrete climate actions. Governments are increasingly open to acknowledging the work being done by non-state actors, learning from it, and perhaps finding ways to work together to take these efforts to scale. Thus, the Warsaw conference included a series of special events recognizing the activities that a myriad of actors, including cities and regional governments, corporations, and women’s groups are undertaking to address climate change. Most of these events took place inside the main conference venue, allowing national government officials to directly engage with corporate leaders and social innovators who are implementing concrete solutions to climate change.

The initiative I work on, Momentum for Change, played a prominent role during the Warsaw conference, highlighting specific examples of how communities, businesses, and civil society are coming together to tackle climate change. You can watch the main recognition event here:

The question now is how do Peru and France, as the countries responsible for organizing the upcoming international climate change conferences in 2014 and 2015, respectively, continue to make progress in bridging the world of the negotiations with the world of implementation led by international development agencies, business entities, civil society, and communities affected by climate change? It will not be an easy task, given the significant pressure for these countries to have the global community reach a universal climate agreement by 2015. There is also a busy schedule on the road to 2015, including concluding the negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. However, as long as the upcoming host governments continue to recognize that the involvement of non-state actors is essential to the success of the international negotiations, I expect to see an increased appetite for these actors’ participation. This will surely create the required groundswell of support for stronger action by all stakeholders, which will help secure an ambitious universal climate agreement in 2015.

Posted by Luis on December 11, 2013 | Posted in Climate Change, momentum for change, politics | 33 Comments

Lessons on successful organizing from the marriage equality movement

Keeping in mind the recent successes achieved by the marriage equality movement in the US, I wanted to share a video that explains how some of these achievements came to be. In this video recorded during the Nathan Cummings Foundation’s Strategic Planning Process you can watch an amazing presentation by Ted Trimpa where he discusses how the marriage equality movement created a successful infrastructure to launch and maintain an effective national campaign. I wonder if some of the lessons he shared could be picked up by climate campaigners in the US and beyond, especially the linkage between philanthropy, policy and political spending to create social change.

Posted by Luis on June 28, 2013 | Posted in Climate Change, environmentalism, philanthropy, politics | 1 Comment

Interesting use of infographics by the World Bank to talk about climate change

Lately I have become more interested on the importance of effective use of infographics and data visualization to communicate a message, especially how it could help to share data related to my work with Momentum for Change. I am planning to attend a few conferences this year like see conference and may try to go to re:publica again this year to keep in touch with agencies working in this space.

I just found out this infographic by the World Bank Climate Change team to accompany their recent Turn Down the Heat report.

I think it is straight forward and a good way to get a taste of a 106 page report. We are currently working on a report on the Momentum for Change activities from last year, and would include some infographics. I’ll share here when ready as well.

Posted by Luis on February 24, 2013 | Posted in Climate Change, global warming | 1 Comment

What do I do at work?

So my mother has always asked me about what I do at work, and it has always been hard to explain. Below some of the one-line descriptions that I have given:
– I work to promote youth participation in international decision-making process;
– I help Fortune 500 companies empower young immigrants in New York through volunteerism;
– I help to facilitate a network of foundations supporting environmental work around the world;
– I support international climate change negotiations on helping to build the capacity of developing countries;
– I support international climate change negotiations on how to financially support developing countries in their efforts to address climate change.

Note how the one line has been getting longer throughout the years… But now that I work on Momentum for Change at the United Nations Climate Change secretariat, I can just say that I work on fighting climate change. I even get to share these amazing little videos that tell more about my work! Enjoy!

Short description of the UNFCCC 2012 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Actvities

Short trailer for the launch of Momentum for Change: Women for Results

Short trailer for the launch of Momentum for Change: Innovative Financing for Climate-friendly Investment Trailer

Posted by Luis on February 6, 2013 | Posted in Climate Change, environmentalism, global warming, international development, momentum for change | 1 Comment

Awesome climate communications!

Check out this nice little video on the history of the climate change communications by the Norwegian organization Cicero. It is short, funny and to the point! Good example of how to communicate on what the negotiations are at a very macro level but in a way that it is not difficult to understand. Enjoy!

Posted by Luis on November 19, 2012 | Posted in Climate Change, environmentalism, global warming, Innovation, presentation | Tagged , , | Comment

On being an entrepreneur

So today I was forwarded this video on what it takes to be an entrepreneur:

Working on Momentum for Change at the United Nations Climate Change secretariat it is clear that entrepreneurial skills, or perhaps “intrapreneurial” skills, are essential to excel at my work. I think the video provides good inspiration not only to those launching new ventures in the private sector, but anyone launching and/or supporting new initiatives. This especially make sense in institutions with deeply entrenched corporate cultures… 🙂

In any case, it is good to be reminded that we should not be afraid to make mistakes, as long as we remain committed to learning from them. Enjoy the video!

Posted by Luis on October 21, 2012 | Posted in entrepreneurship, Innovation, momentum for change | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The West Wing is back! Even if just as a 4 minute webisode!

I always loved the West Wing (I tend to re-watch it every so often). So when Newsnight came out, I was really excited. The show is a good reminder why Aaron Sorkin is a great writer. Below is a trailer for Newsnight:

However, someone sent me an online ad for Bridget Mary McCormack, a candidate for Michigan’s Supreme Court. It happens to be a 4-minute West Wing reunion with lots of the series’ main characters. Needless to say it is great! See below and enjoy!

Posted by Luis on September 20, 2012 | Posted in politics | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Nice Alabama Shakes!

So these past few weeks I’ve been going to a few concerts around Bonn. A few months ago I caught up with Estelle in Cologne, then saw Stacey Kent in Bonn before the May negotiation sessions and last Saturday I saw The Roots at Le Zenith in Paris. I must say all the shows have been quite different but all really good!

A couple of days ago I learned about a band named Alabama Shakes which sound awesome! They are even playing at Live Music Hall in Cologne on July 12th.

In any case below there is a nice video of Alabama Shakes, enjoy!

Posted by Luis on June 26, 2012 | Posted in art, concerts, music | Tagged , | 1 Comment