It’s not just about what we say: it’s about who is listening

by Andrea Fontana

Credits Aura Silva Martinez
Credits Aura Silva Martinez

First day at COP23. Having the chance to address the opening plenary of the Subsidiary Bodies at COP23 we frantically put together a statement on behalf of the coalition Climate Justice Now. Focusing on Loss and Damage and requesting developed countries to live up to their commitments to developing countries (don’t worry – nothing too radical here, just trying to have countries fulfill their commitments). Oh yeah, we also asked Parties to recognize the current losses and damages by climate change and to not rely on the private sector – read capitalism – to solve the climate crisis. Because #copitalismkills. Below is what my voice relayed on behalf of thousands of Climate Justice Now members:

Thank you chair, my name is Andrea Fontana, a member of Earth in Brackets and Climate Justice Now.

 Chairs, delegates

 With the losses of climate disasters stacking up year after year and with Typhoon Damrey currently wreaking havoc in Vietnam, it is impossible to ignore that losses and damages are being faced by communities right now. To give impacted peoples a fighting chance, we need the permanent incorporation of Loss and Damage into the agenda of the COP and SB meetings, and we need clarity on the 100-billion-dollar roadmap for real finance and support.

Developed countries must raise and meet their public financial commitments to developing countries without relying on the private sector – climate finance must serve the public interest, not corporate profits. Therefore, accounting for financial commitments must be solely public funding, with targeted finance for loss and damage in order to secure real outcomes.

 But instead of real solutions, we are seeing dangerous distractions. The failure of market-based mechanisms to reduce emissions cannot be wished away. The Sustainable Development Mechanism must adopt a truly transformative approach that formally rejects the logic of offsetting and includes binding obligations to respect human rights, gender equality, the rights of indigenous peoples, local community led efforts, and environmental integrity.

These demands – these politicized words crammed into a minute-long statement – are not new. Neither are the principles and commitments developed countries have not fulfilled. What struck me most was not the emotion of delivering my first statement in a UN context. As the Subsidiary Body for Implementation Plenary meeting started going over time, a slow ebb of delegates was impossible to ignore, leaving the plenary half empty. So here it is. We scream. We protest. We speak. But who listens?




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.