As the second day of the 19th Conference of Parties unfolded it became increasingly clear that Yeb Sano’s empowering speech on the Day 1 might leverage a broader impact on this year’s negotiations. With yesterday’s stark reminder of a population of 9 million affected by the Philippines Typhoon and a clear blame being cast by many in the direction of climate change, there was an unexpected feeling of traction to today’s proceedings.
The impact of Sano’s speech was tangible as a number of delegates displayed acts of solidarity with the leader of the Philippines’ representation – the most notable of such being the high profile action which took place over the midday break for delegate’s lunch. Lead by a working group subsidiary to the constituency of Youth NGOs, a crowd of enlivened activists gathered in a pledge to join Yeb in his fast for climate change. Committed to the cause and equipped with banners that pledged ‘Solidarity with the Philippines,’ the YOUNGO delegates appeared with Sano and delivered a powerful message to the press. Their conditions? ‘A call for immediate and lasting agreements on Finance that favour the most vulnerable as victims of climate change.’
In the afternoon, a number of IFMSA representatives attended a side event on population displacement and forced migration as a result of climate change. Thankfully, this session referenced heavily the secondary impacts of climate change; with most focus on those associated to displacement and its impacts on health. A key message from one of the panelists on gender inequity in displacement higihlighted an emerging theme as it coincided with the remainder of the IFMSA delegation’s attendance at a special event on gender and climate change. One of the attendees, Anna Rasmussen, reported that the side event had focussed on female representation within the UNFCCC and referenced a statistic on female representative constituents to the head of delegation which estimated female representation at only 19%.
The most powerful speech of the day came from the Pan-African Framework on Climate Change, whose representative to the session on displacement spoke on his worries surrounding the development of Africa under the Kyoto Protocol emissions targets and continuing negotiations surrounding adaptation, ‘The initiate it, they cause it, we are bearing the brunt of the problem. Africa can no longer wait, the impact is here with us.’
As the talks unfold there is a general atmosphere of progress in the right direction, with an always empowering recognition by many of the presence and potential impact of youth.
Lucas Scherdel and the COP-delegation.