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Youth stand in solidarity with the Philippines at the UN climate negotiations

The Filipino minister addressed dozens of people in a solidarity action after the country was hit by the strongest storm this year

by Crystel Hajjar

Youth stand in solidarity with the Philippines. Photo Credit: Crystel Hajjar
Youth stand in solidarity with the Philippines. Photo Credit: Crystel Hajjar

DOHA, QATAR. Youth groups from across the globe expressed solidarity with the Philippines after the recent and devastating storm that hit the country. At a gathering in which Lucille Sering the Filipino Minister of the Climate Change Commission, and the Vice-Minister for Climate Change spoke, youth demanded strong climate action from the international community as the UN climate negotiations are midway through their second week. 

“We are actually very encouraged by the support of the youth,” said Sering. “What we all should be mindful of is the future of our future generation … we should be punchy; what we’re doing right now should benefit these future generations.”
 
The action featured a call-and-response song of resistance lead by Neelam Khare from the Canadian Youth Delegation. Youth were condemning the international community’s inaction and the current process of the negotiations. 
“We stand behind the countries who have voiced their rejection of false solutions and a dirty deal here in Doha. The deal on the table, which they are being bullied into accepting is a suicide pact for their people,” said Julian Velez, from Mexico and a student of the College of the Atlantic.
 
Tuesday, Mindanao Island the second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines was hit by typhoon Bopha that resulted in massive destruction of the island and caused the death of over 280 people so far.  Over 40,000 people have already been displaced. While this is one of the strongest storms to hit the Philippines this year, it certainly isn’t the first. In 2012 alone, the Philippines was hit by 16 extreme weather events. 
“It is unfortunate that it had to happen to our country,” said Sering. “Inasmuch as we don't want this kind of attention, if it can help other countries realize that this particular event is not common to us alone, then hopefully everyone will be encouraged to sit down and in the next couple of days come up with something that is concrete.”
 
According to civil society, this event should a major wake up call for state leaders at the climate negotiations. However, there has been little progress on finance and emissions reduction, so far. 
“Going to the last couple of days, we don’t have yet a clear picture of the outcome,” added Sering. 
 
Many youth delegations have sent solidarity messages to the Philippines delegates and are urging the global community to act on climate change. 
“Right now, we stand with the Philippines. We stand with the millions of people around the world paying for the ignorance and arrogance of countries and fossil fuel corporations who put the interests of profits ahead of the needs of people,” said the statement from the Canadian Youth Delegation. 
 
Crystel Hajjar is reporting for the Media Co-op from the COP18 conference in Qatar. Click here to read more articles from the series, and stay tuned for more news from Doha.

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Topics: Environment

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