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COP 17 – 2011

Bringing a democratic Canadian perspective to the climate change conference in South Africa: TAKING ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE


In 2009, York University’s IRIS hosted its first Ecojustice Conference which brought together activists and academics from the Global South and the North to discuss climate change and community-based responses. This unique conference brought community activists and activist scientists from Brazil, India, South Africa, and Arctic Canada to discuss climate justice. The conference presenters proposed that York University participate in the COPs.

Ecojustice 2009:  http://climatejustice.irisyorku.ca/?page_id=30

Since 2009, we have gained UNFCCC, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, observer status and have been advocating for climate justice.

York University’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) are co-hosting a series of virtual events to help organize in advance of the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties in Durban, South Africa (COP 17).

Lead up to COP-17

The Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability hosted a Climate Justice and Politics Workshop in light of the upcoming 2011 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, taking place in Durban, Africa from November 28th to December 9th.

Climate Justice and Politics Workshop

Date: Wednesday October 26th, 2011
Time: 1pm-4pm EST
Location: 305 York Lanes, York University Keele Campus, Toronto

And virtually for outside participants: http://climatejustice.irisyorku.ca/?page_id=419


IRIS staff and volunteers organized a week long tabling event to engage the diverse community of York University on the hopes and insights for the upcoming COP-17.

Further pictures on tabling gallery: http://climatejustice.irisyorku.ca/?page_id=509

Chan Nam Law, Events Coordinator for IRIS, in Vari Hall; York University

Enrique Miranda is an IRIS staff member and he has contributed his outlook on the reaction of York students to the tabling event and the confusion in both the understanding of climate justice and the action taken to revolve climate change issues.

York Students Passionate on Climate Change but what’s a COP17?

With the final stages of COP17 getting underway at Durban the IRIS team were curious to see exactly what the York  U community thought about climate justice. Exactly what kinds of promises would they like their governments to make at Durban? And what’s standing in our way for a more sustainable society?

Read further: http://climatejustice.irisyorku.ca/?p=408

 COP-17; Happening now in Durban, Africa

IRIS had submitted a COP 17 side event application through York:

Bridging Knowledges: Communicating on Climate Change Experiences to Build Resilient Communities

Arviat Youth and San Delegation at Bridging Knowledges Booth


Jordan Konek and Curtis Kuunuaq Konek, Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project Youth Delegates, share traditional Inuit knowledge and provide an alternative understanding on climate change through the Inuit perspective. The Khomani San Delegation includes Andreier Orogab Kruiper (Toppies) and Izak Kruiper; they represent communities from the Southern Region, including Botswana, Namibia and Angola. Toppies and Izak share their insights on land and water resources management as well as biodiversity issues.

Post COP-17

Participants worldwide agreed on the need to discover new ways to mobilize, respect traditional knowledge, incorporate community assets and needs in policies, and cherish diversity. Our hope is that this September’s workshop, Climate Justice II, will help build a network of researchers and community members interested in being part of an ongoing knowledge co-production process by creating a space for imaginative dialogue leading up to, into, and beyond COP 17.

Upcoming Events: 

  • COP-17 Debriefing will be occurring in January
  • Climate Justice Workshop follow up planned for February

Partners in democratic action on COP 17

York University’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS: http://www.irisyorku.ca/)

Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS: http://www.apecs.is/)


The Canadian Youth Delegation to COP 17 (CYD: http://canadianyouthdelegation.wordpress.com/)

Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project (Nanisiniq.tumblr.com)

Financial Sponsor: Vice-President, Research and Innovation (VPRI)

The VPRI is institutionally responsible for York University’s strategic research planning; their unique collaborations and synergies are responsive to York Region’s developing community and our challenging economic times. The York University delegation to COP-17, Alex Todd and Ewa Modlinska, were able to travel to Durban, South Africa for the conference because of the generous funding from VPRI.


Click here to view some of our delegates and organizing committee.