Monday, 7 December 2009

Pacific presents global 10 million petition at COP 15

Makereta Komai7 December, Copenhagen - 24 year old Leah Wickham of Fiji captivated the hearts of thousands of delegates at the Copenhagen climate change talks on its opening day, in her impassioned plea to the world to sign a deal that will ensure a safe future for her generation.
Climate Pasifika

She led a group of young people from many developed and under developed countries to campaign for a ‘fair and ambitious’ international climate change deal.

A staggering 10 million people expressed their hopes and aspirations in a petition gathered from all corners of the globe.  The campaign called, Tck Tck Tck, is a global alliance representing hundreds of millions of people from all walks of life and is made up of leading international, national and local organizations addressing environment, development, poverty, human rights, health and humanitarian issues. It also represents faith-based groups, youth groups, trade unions and individuals all calling for a fair, ambitious and binding climate change agreement in Copenhagen.

Ms Wickham, representing the Pacific was chosen to deliver the petition with a group of 15 young people to the chair of the Conference of the Parties, Denmark’s Connie Hedegaard and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Yvo de Boer.

At the handover, 15 young people held up large scale ‘building blocks” which spelled out “10 million people expect a fair, ambitious and binding deal” – following which Ms Wickham gave an emotional plea while relating the experiences of her peers in the Pacific and the ‘uncertain’ future that lies ahead of them.

"I plead to world leaders on behalf of the millions of young people we represent to sign a deal that will mean my children will inherit a safe world.”

“All the hopes and dreams of generations rest on Copenhagen.

“The islands of the Pacific where I come from are on the frontline of climate change. We plead with you to hear our voices and help us save our homes, our culture, our identity and most importantly our people," Ms Wickham pleaded.

She is optimistic that the future looks promising because ‘the leaders of tomorrow, referring to her peers, are now already converted.

“I am inspired by my peers from developed countries who appreciate our plight and are in this fight with us."

Yvo de Boer applauded the efforts of young people to bring their concerns on climate change to Copenhagen.

“I am amazed by the courage of Leah and all of you to keep on this fight to remind our leaders of the urgent need to reverse the impact of the climate change."

“I ask that you give us two weeks to sort this out," Mr de Boer said.

Ms Hedegaard also praised the campaign, which delivered the hopes of 10 million people today at the climate change meeting in the Danish city.

In response, Ms Wickham said she was humbled by the recognition that a representative from a small island nation in the Pacific was to present the world’s petition at Copenhagen.

“These 10 million people that I don’t know and will never meet in my life time share the same vision as me and the young people that we represent – a vision for a sustainable future and that unites us.

“Hope is something that I will hold on to the very end.”

And she had a message for Pacific Leaders at Copenhagen, “Be vocal and be not easily bought out!"

Tck Tck Tck chair, Kumi Naidoo said the size of the petition demonstrated the huge groundswell of support for world leaders to deal with the climate crisis.

“The world has spoken", Mr Naidoo said.

“People want a deal done here that is fair to the poorest people and countries that did not cause this problem but will suffer most from it, ambitious enough to leave a safe planet for us all and one that is legally – not politically binding, with results that can be monitored and real targets that can be enforced.

“It is time for leaders to provide the political will to meet people’s demands for meaningful action to stop the climate crisis, Mr Naidoo said.

The largest and most important United Nations climate change conference in history opened today with diplomats from 192 nations warned that this could be the last chance for a deal to protect the world from calamitous global warming.

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