Copenhagen, 14 December 2009
Today, civil society organizations from more than 25 least developed countries (LDC) urged the LDC governments not to divide themselves in the issues of climate change at COP15 climate negotiations so that they can arrive at concrete solutions. In a seminar jointly organised by LDC Watch, South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE), JS - APMDD, EquityBD, Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN) and MS Action Aid Denmark at Klimaforum09 (people’s alternative summit to COP15, UNFCCC) they argued that LDCs must act together to urge effective mitigation measures and claim adequate funds for reparation adaptation of climate damage from developed/Annex 1 countries. Civil society leaders such as Demba Moussa Dembele of Senegal, Camille Chalmers of Haiti, Azeb Girmai of Ethiopia, Aloys of Rwanda, Kong Sung of Cambodia, Elisa Pinto of Timor Leste, Saheen Anam of Bangladesh and Netra Timsina from Nepal had presented testimonies on the impacts on the livelihoods due to climate change in their countries. Dr. Arjun Karki, International Coordinator of LDC Watch had moderated the seminar.
Milo N. Tanchuling of Jubilee South - Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD) and Trine Pertou Mach of MS Action Aid Denmark have expressed their strong solidarity to the LDC civil society movements on the issues of climate change. Trine mentioned that if COP15 is not able to come up with a reaffirmed commitment on Kyoto Protocol, then it will be an indication of inherent crisis in total UN system. She mentioned that the North (developed countries) must have to take responsibilities and be ready to compensate the damages caused in the South.
Bula Alam, a farmer from Ethiopia concluded the seminar in saying that the planet earth has to be reclaiming for human being, which is being mistreated by annex 1 countries for profit of few people or companies. Bula Alam is an ecological farmer who has got several presidential prizes and being considered as Green Hero in his country. He narrated the fact and stories of climate change in ages of his life. He also mentioned how the water crisis became a major cause of conflict in his village.
Demba Moussa Dembele of Senegal narrated how erratic rainy session in his country, that in some months it rains so intensely that the total precipitation of a year is received only in such a short period causing heavy flooding and landsides. The rest of the other months of the year remain completely dry. He mentioned that due to the climate change problems there will be 50 % less crop production in Africa by the year 2020, he assumes. Saheen Anam of Bangladesh mentioned that while demanding compensation by LDC leaders, they must not forget that they have responsibility to be accountable while making use of aid money in their respective countries. Camille from Haiti narrated how increased frequencies of cyclone and hurricanes are making thousands of Haitian people forced migrants. Netra Timsina from Nepal mentioned how the rainy monsoon season in Nepal is changing slowly, affecting the planning, growing and harvesting seasons of food and vegetable crops. He further mentioned that if the Himalayan Glaciers meltdown completely by the year 2035, which is estimated to happen if the present rate of climate change and global warming continues, then there will be huge crisis of fresh water in the whole region of Asia, particularly in South Asia, not only affecting lives and livelihoods of the people but the entire ecosystem of the region and the world. Kong Sung of Cambodia narrated the stories of increasing food insecurity. Elsa Pinto from Timor Leste narrated how her young country is forced to gradually face the climate crisis, where people have to walk for 4 to 5 km to fetch drinking water, forget about the water for irrigation. Azeb Girmai of Ethiopia mentioned unexpected extension of the drought situation in her country.
While concluding as the chair of the session, Dr. Arjun Karki highlighted that the LDCs are the ones that are least responsible for causing anthropogenic climate change but most affected. They are at the forefront of bearing the burnt in terms of lost livelihoods, increased food insecurity and hunger, health complications and the loss of biodiversity on which the livelihoods of the majority of LDC people is based. Dr. Karki also launched a booklet which elaborates the impacts of climate change on the livelihoods of the people in the LDCs with testimonies from different countries. He, on behalf of LDCs civil socities, demanded for climate justice for the people living in the LDCs and urged the CoP15 of UNFCCC to yield robust commitments in this regard.