The following is the intervention given by Katie O’Brien at the Subsidiary Body for Implementation’s closing session, written by the Youth NGO’s working group on Loss and Damage.
Text of the Speech:
Thank you, Mr. Chair. My name is Katie, I am Canadian and speaking for the youth constituency.
Despite the large SBI agenda, the inevitability of further warming, and associated impacts, makes loss and damage an urgent issue. A strong mechanism on Loss and Damage must be established in Warsaw.
The silent disasters of slow onset events cannot be ignored. Barely perceptible to shortsighted plans, they will cause inconceivable displacements, losses of culture, biodiversity, and livelihoods, not to mention the losses of life.
Recent tragic events in the Philippines, Micronesia, Viet Nam, and Somalia shock and deeply sadden us, they show you cannot simply adapt to impacts. You cannot adapt to the impacts of land sinking into the ocean. You cannot adapt to the impacts of ocean acidification destroying fisheries. You cannot adapt to the impacts of a drought so harsh it becomes permanent. You cannot adapt to the impacts of being hit by record-breaking typhoons year after year. You cannot adapt to losing your home.
We must remind you that addressing Loss and Damage in developing countries is part of the obligations enumerated in the Convention. But, just addressing the issue is not enough.
The mechanism should actively address issues of rehabilitation, capacity, and responsibility. Capacity building is needed to ensure the skills and knowledge of our next generation. It has to be gender sensitive and monitored efficiently. This mechanism cannot be a new body to just coordinate humanitarian aid. And it must stand on its own. It cannot neglect slow onset events and non-economic losses, nor can it rely solely on insurance, as we are no longer dealing with risk: we are dealing with inevitable impacts.
Some countries, including my own, refuse to heed their obligations from the Convention, they refuse to work to establish that which they owe to the world. Using an issue as critical as this for a political game is irresponsible.
To developing countries pushing for a strong mechanism, #WeStandWithYou.