Monkey from the Nazca lines. Photograph © J. Ashley Nixon
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took some lines from the deep history of Peru for her opening speech to the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP 20) in Lima yesterday.
She spoke literally of lines, the mysterious Nazca lines, etched into the Sechura desert sands of southern Peru over 1600 years ago by unknown members of the Nazca culture. These huge geoglyphic cultural symbols of a monkey, hummingbird, condor, spider and other designs were suggested by Ms Figueres to hold symbolic messages for these critically important climate talks:
“The monkey…is clever and resourceful, inspiring us to work creatively to achieve our goals. The hummingbird is agile and quick, inspiring us to search rapidly for new perspectives and common ground. The condor soars to great heights, inspiring us to accomplish ambitious aims.
While the originals are best seen from a plane up above the Pampas de Jumana between the towns of Nazca and Palpa, they have become hugely important graphical devices in Peru and beyond. The Monkey tail (see above) has become one of the symbols for the country, as seen on tee-shirts, aircraft and other branded goods.
Ms Figueres went on to describe four critical lines of climate action that need to be taken at the Lima meetings:
1. Bring a draft of a new, universal climate change agreement to the table and clarify how national contributions will be communicated next year.
2. Consolidate progress on adaptation to achieve political parity with mitigation, given the equal urgency of both.
3. Enhance the delivery of finance, in particular to the most vulnerable.
4. Stimulate ever-increasing action on the part of all stakeholders to scale up the scope and accelerate the solutions that move us all forward, faster.
In conclusion, she told the participants on the opening day in the San Borja pavilion: “Here in Lima, may we find inspiration in the enduring Nazca lines, may we find the perspective to see our path forward and may we find the determination to meet the climate challenge”.
The photos shown here were taken at the Peruvian Consulate in Washington DC earlier this year. The short back story is here.