Focus on the arts at COP17

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Durban - Artists from South Africa and around the world are being given opportunities through different competitions to express their take on climate change issues.

Different organisations and even the Ethekwini Municipality have afforded filmmakers, photographers, painters, drawers and sculptors to showcase their talent by highlighting environmental issues as the COP17 build-up gains momentum.

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is running a film competition and winning submissions will be screened at the end of the two-day Development and Climate Days in Durban.

The Development and Climate Days is an annual event held during the COP meetings and is organised by the IIED in collaboration with other parties. This year, the IIED launched its 4th D&C International Film Competition.

Competition Organiser Justin Benn told BuaNews that the purpose of holding the screenings was to support the wide variety of filmmaking that takes place around the world on the themes of climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and sustainable livelihoods.

"For many years, the IIED has held the D&C days and conference at COP events, over the course of the middle weekend, and this has recently been accompanied, in parallel, by film screenings," said Benn.

Benn said the competition was open to amateurs and professionals and there was no entry fee.

"This year's D&C days are centred on 'Evidence-Based Planning' and 'Approaches to Adaptation' so a concomitant theme of Resilience was selected as suitable, related discourse," said Benn.

A panel of international judges will use criteria based on content and message; impact; production value; originality and innovation to make their decisions.

"The response has been pleasing and there's always a rush toward the deadline for submissions," said Benn.

The World Bank, joined by more than 30 global partners, launched the Connect4Climate initiative.

Connect4Climate is a global partnership initiative supported by the World Bank and the Italian Ministry of Environment.

The campaign kicked off last month with a photo/video competition for African youth, aged 13 to 30. Raising awareness about climate change is the purpose of the competition.

"The Connect4Climate competition is a chance to tap the rich potential of Africa's youth, offering them a platform via our websites and Facebook pages - not only to articulate the challenges of climate change seen from their perspective, but also to use their enormous potential as agents of social change to raise awareness and mobilise for climate adaptation and mitigation within Africa," said Obiageli Ezekwesili, Vice-President of the World Bank's Africa Region, during the launch.

Through photos and videos of 60 seconds or less, those entering the Connect4Climate competition were encouraged to answer the question: What does climate change mean to you, your family, your community, your country?

Participants in the competition are invited to share their personal stories and solutions for change in six Connect4Climate award categories. They are agriculture, energy, forests, gender, health and water.

The deadline for submissions is 15 November 2011 and the winners will be announced during COP17. Prizes will include solar backpacks, video cameras, and computer tablets. The best entries will be featured in an exhibition at the conference.

To enter the competition, go to: or

On the local front, the Ethekwini municipality gave artists until mid-October to take part in a public art competition aimed at raising awareness about the COP 17.

Artists were expected to create their own interpretation of the competition theme which is "Climate change, the future and me" in a positive artistic way.

The artworks were expected to clearly explain how the artists see climate change, how will it affect the world, South Africa, and generations to come.