CAN Intervention - COP Plenary - COP 12 - Nov 2007

Thank you Mr. Chairman/President.

 My name is Sharon Looremeta, and I am a Maasai and I work with my farming community - we have mainly herding animals and they have been suffering and continue to suffer from drought. Many of the animals we rely on are dying.

Two weeks ago we welcomed you to our country. We had high hopes that you were serious about addressing the threat of climate change which is destroying livelihoods all across Africa. Now we wonder if you are just like all the other tourists who come here to see some wild animals, and some poor Africans; to take some pictures and then go home and forget about us..

Dear ministers, we hope that the pictures you have taken, remain fixed in your mind while you’re deciding what to do. Here is another picture for you:

Parts of Kenya have suffered a drought which started in 2003, these areas have had no proper rains for three years. During this time:

          o In Northern Kenya, pastoralists have lost 10 million livestock;
          o Two thirds of the population in Turkana have lost their livelihoods;
          o In Kajiado, the Maasai country where I come from, we have lost 5 million cattle


We have had no part to play in contributing to this problem but we are already suffering the consequences.

Kofi Annan sent a special envoy to Kajiado in March this year to try and help with the drought.

Not such a pretty picture, eh? And these pictures are repeated all across Africa, and the scientists are telling us that pretty soon, this kind of picture of hunger and suffering is the only kind of picture you’re going to be able to see here in Africa. I hope you keep these pictures in your mind when you are deciding whether this COP will achieve anything, or not.

Dear ministers, we never asked for anything that you yourself didn’t say was possible here in Nairobi. In all your speeches you said improving the Kyoto Protocol was important. But are you really willing to do the work to make it happen?

We said, “the review of the Kyoto Protocol was important for Africa, because we need more funds for adaptation - more than what we have now”, and you said, ‘later’;

We said, “we need deeper emissions cuts so that our children and grandchildren can have a better chance in life”, and you said, ‘later’;

We said, “we need new mechanisms to help sustainable development in Africa” and you said, ‘later’.

I am a mother. I have a daughter. When she asks me what came out of the meeting in Nairobi, I don’t want to have to tell her that you said, ‘ask me again next year’.

This was supposed to be the African COP - building and strengthening the Kyoto Protocol with Africa’s needs in mind. I think this should be called the ‘Safari COP’. ‘Climate change tourists’ is what I call you… you come here to look at some climate impacts and some poor people suffering, and then climb on your airplanes and head home. Africa is sometimes called the forgotten continent. And it looks like you’ve forgotten us again….

Just so you know, that this weekend while you head off on Safari or climb on your jet airplanes and fly back to your comfortable homes - and we know that most of you live in comfortable homes, no matter what country you come from, my people will be left out here with very little food, very little water, with our herds dying around us. My people are living on the edge of existence.

We believe your decisions have left a small window of opportunity to meet the demands of the people of Africa and the rest of the world.

If they cannot be made today, they must be made at your next meeting. Give me some good news that I can tell my daughter when I get home.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman/President.