Thursday, December 06, 2012

Philippine delegate breaks down and cries at U.N. climate change talks

A delegate from the Philippines broke down and cried yesterday during the United Nations climate change talks. Naderev Sano is negotiating with the world on how to combat climate change while his nation recovers from another severe storm. Typhoon Bopha killed hundreds of Philippine residents and thousands more are now left homeless. Locals say it was a storm that was stronger than usual and traveled farther south than usual. The Philippines loses five percent of their annual GDP to storm damage and recovery.

From the Guardian, writer John Vidal has this excerpt of the speech that led Sano to tears.

Madam chair, we have never had a typhoon like Bopha, which has wreaked havoc in a part of the country that has never seen a storm like this in half a century. And heartbreaking tragedies like this are not unique to the Philippines, because the whole world, especially developing countries struggling to address poverty and achieve social and human development, confront these same realities.

"Madam chair, I speak on behalf of 100 million Filipinos, a quarter of a million of whom are eeking out a living working here in Qatar [as migrant labourers]. And I am making an urgent appeal, not as a negotiator, not as a leader of my delegation, but as a Filipino …"
At this point he broke down.
"I appeal to the whole world, I appeal to leaders from all over the world, to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face. I appeal to ministers. The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of us by 7 billion people.

"I appeal to all, please, no more delays, no more excuses. Please, let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around. Please, let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?"

"Thank you madam chair."
The hall rose and applauded.

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