Thursday, December 17, 2009

from OUTREACH from COP15 (16th December 2009)

by Uchita de Zoysa (Convener - Climate Sustainability PLATFORM)

Just several weeks ago, the Maldivian President had to go under sea with his cabinet to prove to the world that adapting to the sea level rise due to climate change would be hard for them. Two Maldivian members of the PLATFORM once again reminded the world that their call for help for twenty years has not been answered by the international community. Not only for them, but adapting to new global scenarios is going to be hard for all of us. We realised this more in Copenhagen last week.

Adapting to the climate insensitivities in Copenhagen has been hard for many of us from the South. Lack of commitment by the rich countries at the COP15 and walk outs by African negotiators at the Bella Centre, planned demonstrations by anti-globalization activists in Copenhagen streets and mass-arrests by the non-tolerant police, expensive climate parties by Danish alternative forum organisers and lack of funds to host southern NGO delegates, the cold weather and uncertainty of the climate talks; all these are amounting to the frustrations at the UN Climate Summit.

This circus has gone beyound the patience of people who have been told that their lives are in danger due to climate change. The circus in Copenhagen is shameful. Every night a big party is organised in Copenhagen and it is a battle to get in-front of the queue. I am wandering, what are these people celebrating? What a lot of money is spent in Copenhagen for these big parties, but how many activists from the South have got to come here to make there voices heard? Even the ones who got here have had to bear with the little money provided, poor lodging facilities and coldness of the weather as well as attitudes of some insensitive-to-diversity coordinators with temporary climate jobs. Adaptation has been hard in Copenhagen!

Many PLATFORM participants have demonstrated their lack of faith in the COP15 process and they are angry about the lack of goodwill shown towards the adaptation of the poor. Ms. Susy Wandera from The Kenya Climate Change Working Group said, “There is no good faith in addressing the vulnerability of women, youth and communities who are being affected by the climate change impacts right now. How much worse does the damage have to be in the South for Annex-1 countries to make serious commitments in their emission reductions? They were able to raise one trillion dollars Euro to respond to the global financial crisis in short time. Why don’t they see the same urgency in supporting the South? Like they said they would.”

Ms. Gail Karlsson from the US Citizens’ Network understands the need for support and assistance on adaptation in the South. She says ; “For over ten years I have been involved in advocacy and planning related to the energy needs of women in developing countries. At this point, about 1.5 billion people are living without electricity, and many more continue to rely on traditional biomass fuels for cooking. It is generally women and girls in rural areas who are responsible for collecting firewood or other biomass fuels, and whose time, health and activities are most constrained by lack of access to electricity, modern cooking fuels, and motorized power. Financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation can help to relieve women’s poverty by engaging them in developing and distributing new clean energy options if these new opportunities are formulated in ways that benefit women as well as men.”

Adaptation is not just about sharing the wealth and technological know-how. It is going to be based on how much of collective action we as a human race can exercise during the coming decades. Collective action needs goodwill and that is lacking at the COP15 and in general in the Copenhagen climate circus. It is time to move on. Our destiny should not rely on a bunch of insensitive negotiators and circus managers. It is ours!

Therefore I agree with Flora Ijjas from Hungary when she says, “taking care of yourself and your people and your place is more important than worrying about emission reductions or setting quotas. Women’s nature has the sensitivity and the empathy that today’s arrogant world needs.”

(send comments to

No comments: