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Planetary Health Film Lab Reports from COP28 and Belize

Planetary Health Film Lab Reports from COP28 and Belize


Published on January 10, 2024

Last month, Dahdaleh research fellow Mark Terry attended the UN climate summit, also known at COP28. Mark shared updates about the Planetary Health Film Lab (PHFL) and participated meaningfully in discussions about neurodivergent representation.

On December 1, 2023, Mark Terry held a press conference for the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Youth Climate Report, a partner program of the UN that curates and presents videos produced by the global community of youth for presentations at the COP conferences each year. This year, the PHFL, co-led by Terry, presented six films made by Indigenous youth in Belize. One of the films titled The Importance of Securing Land Tenure by Sebastian Cho, was screened to the international media.

Mark Terry hosts a press conference showcasing this year’s Planetary Health Film Lab videos made in Belize (films on screen in picture)
Mark Terry hosts a press conference showcasing this year’s Planetary Health Film Lab videos made in Belize (films on screen in picture)

A first for PHFL videos this year was the daily screenings of each of the six films all day, every day prior to major events, plenary sessions and negotiating meetings in the Blue Zone. The films were showcased as “pre-session content” to highlight the UN’s International Decade for Indigenous Languages. The films from Belize this year included the native Maya languages of Mopan and Q'eqchi. COP28 had the largest attendance of all UN climate summits with 97,372 registered delegates in the Blue Zone. As a result, thousands of international delegates saw the PHFL films prior to their meetings during the two-week conference.

Image of the PHFL film The Forest, Land, and Water are Hurting by Florenio Xuc, part of the daily screening before major events at COP28 this year.

The entire press conference can be viewed below:

These films first premiered presented on December 7, 2023 at an event co-hosted by the Youth Climate Report and the Foundation for Environmental Education out of the University of Copenhagen. The event was called "Global Youth Voices for Climate Justice" and attracted over 150 delegates including Pablo Mis and Christina Coc from the Julian Cho Society in Belize, local partners in this year’s Planetary Health Film Lab. Dr. Terry introduced the films and answered questions with the Belizean delegates.

Panel on Autism at COP28

On December 8, 2023, Mark Terry was also invited by the UNFCCC to participate in a panel examining the representation of the neurodivergent community in climate and sustainability policy creation at COP conferences. The December 8 event was titled Revolutionising Ocean Education: Initiating Ocean Literacy for Youth on the Spectrum of Autism and was hosted by EcoSpectrum and Dr. Terry's ongoing research project with the UN, the Youth Climate Report. The panel included two youth ambassadors on the spectrum as well as Dr. Terry and Dr. Mohammad Fteiha, Associate Professor of Special Education at Abu Dhabi University. Dr. Terry described how film projects like the PHFL can provide a voice for those on the spectrum and contribute to the representation of the neurodivergent community at policy conferences through the film reports they produce. Watch the entire 90-minute panel discussion

UN Television Interview

On December 4, 2023, the United Nations Art, Culture & Heritage Working Group conducted a roundtable discussion with Mark Terry, Sister Jayanti Kirpalani, head of the Brahma Kumaris, a registered NGO of the United Nations based in Geneva, and Carolin Fraude, a researcher at the Research Institute for Sustainability in the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, Germany. The one-hour discussion recorded for UN television discussed how systemic changes are required in the way the climate crisis is perceived by the general public, by business and by governments including the UN policy processes. The Planetary Health Film Lab was examined as an example of how perceptions of environmental issues can be changed when presented in a visual context and through the voice of Indigenous youth. The academic roundtable will be broadcast online in January, 2024.

Mark Terry discusses how the Planetary Health Film Lab helps provide new perspectives on climate issues for policymakers together with Sister Jayanti Kirpalani (centre), and sustainability researcher, Carolin Fraude.
Micro Film Festival in Punta Gorda, Belize

Dr. Terry returned to Belize to attend the Micro Film Festival and certificate presentation ceremony held in Punta Gorda. With local partners, the Planetary Health Film Lab organized a showcase of the films made that year in the Indigenous communities of the participants. This year, they worked with the Julian Cho Society based in Punta Gorda, Belize, to showcase the films and their filmmakers in the community they were made. Attending the event with the filmmakers were PHFL co-lead and Dahdaleh executive fellow Kate Tilleczek, Dahdaleh research fellow Jim Stinson, and Dahdaleh PhD research associate Lee McLoughlin, and Mark Terry. Each film was introduced by its filmmaker or their representative and a PHFL certificate of program completion was presented. A total of more than 200 friends and family of the filmmakers attended along with other community members.


Planetary Health



Related Work

Planetary Health Film Lab | Education, Project, Research




Kate Tilleczek, Faculty Fellow, Faculty of Education Active
Mark Terry, Research Fellow, Documentary Film & Global Health Alum
James Stinson, Postdoctoral Fellow, Planetary Health & Education Active
Lee Mcloughlin, Research Assistant, SMART Conservation Active

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