Photograph taken by Richmond Fiksdal
- Strengthening investments/commitments globally for renewable energy
- Providing funding for peace & security and refugees
- How to best welcome refugees into resettlement countries, facilitate the return of refugees to their home country and expand education and job opportunities for refugees living in camps
“The Climate Summit was a time of optimism … a call to action.” She also addressed purchasing power – making a clear connection between our purchases and consumption. That’s the reason why many companies are investing so heavily in solar, wind and biogas resources.
“The United States must not move to the sidelines while the world moves forward. Let’s act in ways to tell our kids … We are doing everything we can to address climate change,” she concluded.
Esmatullah Sahebdil, a Fullbright-Humphrey Fellow at the University of Minnesota from Kabul, Afghanistan, spoke to the delegates about his work with refugees. He shared that he has experience working as Policy and Planning Advisor to the Ministry of Refugees and Returnees (MoRR) in Afghanistan, teaching at the college level and engaging in community activism work. He has nine-plus years of expertise with issues, programs and policies related to refugees.
He began by talking about issues facing Afghan refugees and returnees. More than two-thirds of refugees in the world today are trapped in protracted refugee situations. This includes many people in Pakistan and Iran.
Sahebdil said, “it is not clear when the war will end. We need to look beyond humanitarian assistance. People don’t have much interaction with people outside of the camps.” He addressed the delegates: “what is our obligation? Improving education and ways for refugees to be more self-reliant.” One delegate asked him what brought you to care so much about the issue; he replied that when he began working as a consultant, he realized his passion for refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees.
Various delegates asked J. Drake questions such as: “who are the policy leaders who set climate policy?” and “under our current government, what happens to funding?” She answered that policy leaders setting climate policy are the people in the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies removing barriers to renewable energy and that use the “federal social cost of carbon,” a way to assess the economic benefits of policy making that reduce carbon dioxide emissions. These leaders have the power to act and address climate and energy policy and have the political will to succeed. Under our current government, states and regions can lead the clean energy revolution, shaping the world’s future policy landscape. “Whoever stands up for the clean energy revolution leads the world,” said Hamilton.
After Opening Ceremonies concluded, delegates joined their committees and began their crucial work for the day. After negotiating, drafting, and discussions, the delegates were ready to submit their Draft Resolutions to the Chair of their committees.
Chris DeCrans, a social studies teacher at Holy Angels in Richfield commented on their students’ experiences by saying, “I like the exposure to how things are done at the United Nations,”
The students honed their ability to come to a consensus on these complicated issues and at the closing ceremony, individual committee awards were given out for their efforts.