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Forum: “Iowa, the United Nations, and Climate Change”

The Iowa United Nations Association and The Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship will host a day-long forum at Drake University to explore how Iowans can help support international initiatives to address climate change.

The eighth and final event in a statewide series of community forums, “Iowa, the United Nations and Climate Change” will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, in the Reading Room of Drake’s Cowles Library, 2725 University Ave. The event is free to attend and open to the public. There is a $17 charge for lunch; no charge for lunch for students. Register online.

Organizers of the Des Moines forum say Iowans and people around the world must be informed and engaged in order for the UN to achieve its ambitious goals. This fall, the United Nations General Assembly is adopting new Sustainable Development Goals aimed at eradicating poverty and hunger worldwide by 2030, with action to address climate change as central to the attainment of these goals. In December, the UN will convene a climate summit in Paris. Known officially as the Twenty-first Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the summit is scheduled to complete a new universal treaty to curb the emission of greenhouse gases worldwide.

David Skidmore, director of The Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship said, “This event is an outgrowth of Drake’s longstanding partnership with the United Nations Association. We are pleased to provide our students with an opportunity to learn about an issue of overriding importance.”

Featured speakers include:

  • Mary Christina Wood, the Philip K. Knight Professor of Law and faculty director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at the University of Oregon, will speak on atmospheric trust litigation, an innovative legal effort to compel governments worldwide to address the climate crisis for current and future generations.
  • Chris Whatley, executive director of the United Nations Association of the USA, will address the UN’s role in combatting climate change in its 70th anniversary year.
  • Todd Edwards, climate change officer at The Stanley Foundation, will describe the groundswell of actions by governments at all levels, businesses, and civil society that parallels the formal UN process.
  • Bishop Robert Pates of Des Moines will present climate change as the pre-eminent moral issue of our time.
  • David Skidmore, professor of politics and international relations and director of the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship at Drake University, will deliver opening remarks and moderate a session on Our Children’s Trust, a youth-driven climate recovery campaign.

In addition, three Iowans will receive 2015 Iowa UNA Garst Awards during the forum. The recipients of the award, which recognizes recipients’ support of the Iowa UNA, are:

  • Rekha Basu, columnist for TheDes Moines Register 
  • Beth Ann Schumacher, educator in Clear Lake, Iowa
  • Frank Cownie, mayor of Des Moines

The forum is presented in partnership with more than a dozen community sponsors. Details and registration information are available at http://iowauna.org/des-moines-climate-forum-october-23/.