“Climate Change is More than Just a Myth, it’s a Fact” Dominican Filmmaker Fernando Báez During Presentation of Lago Enriquillo: A Prelude to Climate Change

June 29, 2015

Seeking to provide a space for showcasing climate action and concrete initiatives, GFDD/Funglode put together a special UN side event on Monday June 29 that joined high-level policy experts and government representatives with the Director of Lago Enriquillo: A Prelude to Climate Change for an engaging debate on the topic of climate change.

The Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and its sister organization Fundación
Global Democracia y Desarollo (Funglode) hosted Dominican filmmaker Fernando Báez for a Special Presentation of Lago Enriquillo: A Prelude to Climate Change at the United Nations on June 29, 2015.

The event praised the work of Báez and was followed by a panel discussion on climate change, seeking to present how this issue has affected the planet and what efforts need to be made in Paris by the international community to reach a bold and ambitious
climate treaty. In addition to Báez, the speakers included several international experts on environmental issues such as: Omar Ramírez, Executive Vice-President of the National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism of the Dominican Republic; H.E. Ambassador Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Maldives to the United Nations and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States; and Jamil Ahmad, Deputy Director UNEP New York Office.

The panel, which followed the UN General Assembly’s High-Level Event on Climate Change, received further marketing supporting thanks to the sponsorship of UNA USA Council of Organizations, the NGO
Committees on Sustainable Development and Financing for Development and the Conference on NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations.

Yamile Eusebio, Director of GFDD’s New York Office, welcomed the attendees before emphasizing the importance of the work of Fernando Báez and giving him the floor to introduce the film. Báez stressed that his film took him three years of hard labor to complete, and that he was very happy to be with the audience at
the UN to share his work with them. Baez mentioned the importance of the topic of climate change stating “climate change is more than just a myth, it’s a fact”. Turning to his inspiration behind making the film he stated that he wanted to “discover what the country had to offer”.

Marc Jourdan, GFDD UN Representative moderated an engaged debate on the topic of climate change with the panelists.

Sareer spoke about how climate change had affected the island nation of Maldives. In his capacity as Chair of AOSIS, he informed attendees of the position of AOSIS in the lead up to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Sareer praised Dr. Leonel Fernández for having “understood how democratic development and climate advocacy” are an integral requirement for the sustainable development of all Small Island
Developing States (SIDS) such as the Dominican Republic. Drawing parallels between the work of GFDD in highlighting the environmental films of Fernando Báez such as Lago Enriquillo: A Prelude to Climate Change and the increasing occurrence of floods in Maldives, Sareer demonstrated that SIDS need to work together to overcome their problems as a climate vulnerable group. He concluded by stressing the importance of the sustainable development pathway, one that always
considers the economic, social, and environmental aspects as interconnected and indivisible. In doing so he referenced the fact that Maldives was seeking to promote the use of renewable energy and had, at the beginning of the year, opened its first world luxury resort, entirely reliant on solar power.

Ramírez next gave the audience an overview of the efforts of the Dominican Republic to address climate mitigation and adaptation policies at both the national and
regional level. He told attendees what the Dominican Republic is doing to avoid the consequences of climate change in the 21st century. As part of his presentation he set out the climate change strategy of the country and its aim to reduce 25% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2010. He emphasized that today the “country is only responsible for 0.3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions”. Looking at solutions for combating climate change
he listed education as one of the key priorities for the country. On the international level he confirmed that the country is looking to work with the international community at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, so as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save planet earth, which is a home to us all.

Providing the final intervention, Ahmad gave an overview of UNEP’s programs as they relate to the
issue of climate change, and the tools they offer to promoting understanding and action on the issue, particularly for those regions most vulnerable to its impacts. He stressed that climate change “is a reality which is now difficult to escape, a reality which is challenging the lives of people around the world”. Looking at the work of UNEP he confirmed that the agency was engaged in projects working in tandem with government and civil society so as to achieve a
“green economy, stable consumption and production”, by providing them with the necessary resources to reach these objectives. He praised the work of Fernando Báez explaining that we “need people like Fernando to continue to document and denounce the times to come, until we take more decisive action”.

Thanking the panelist for their remarks, Jourdan opened the floor to questions from the audience. The panelists fielded a variety of
questions from attendees ranging from the importance of engaging with youth on climate change education, to the degree to which poor communities are affected by climate change and the policy options that are available to them, and even how the Dominican Republic had managed to frame the issues it had encountered at the local level with climate change to incentivize action at the global level.

Offering some final remarks, the panelists once again congratulated Báez for his
efforts and courage in lending his artistic skills to produce an engaging documentary on climate change.

Jourdan concluded the session by thanking the audience, the panelists, and the sponsors for their support, and encouraging the attendees to remain engaged in the events and initiatives of GFDD/Funglode, that promote action on environmental protection issues, and the work of filmmakers such as Fernando Báez.

About Lago Enriquillo: A
Prelude to Climate Change

Flora, fauna, and legends are overshadowed by the effects of climate change in the largest lake in the Antilles. Experts immersed in their research watch the lake’s rising water levels as a window into the consequences of climate change. Lago Enriquillo looks at how the rising water is affecting the area’s inhabitants while attracting the attention of the global scientific community.

If you are interested in arranging a film screening of Lago Enriquillo: A Prelude to Climate Change please contact Marc Jourdan via e-mail at mjourdan@globalfoundationdd.org.

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