Plenary sessions are one of the rare occasions that one gets to hear the delegates take a position and explain their country’s stand. It takes hours as each country takes stage. Each has an allotted time of three minutes but every country exceeds the limit, going twice over it and even more. This session is open to all the participants including the observers.
This year it would be the delegate from the Philippines who would be remembered. Nadarev Sano on Thursday spoke about how much the natural disasters are affecting the country but broke down in the middle of his speech. As the conference in Doha is taking place, the island of Mindanao has been hit by typhoon Bopha. The official death toll stands at 418 but is expected to rise as more than 300 people are still missing. Thousands have been made homeless. This was the sixteenth typhoon to hit the country this year.
Here is the text of his speech.
“As we sit here in these negotiations, even as we vacillate and procrastinate here, the death toll is rising. There is massive and widespread devastation. Hundreds of thousands of people have been rendered without homes. And the ordeal is far from over, as typhoon Bopha has regained some strength as it approaches another populated area in the western part of the Philippines.
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. And I am making an urgent appeal, not as a negotiator, not as a leader of my delegation, but as a Filipino …”
“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.”
Today, I also had the opportunity to speak to Heherson J. Alvarex from the Climate Change Commission of Philippines and he said, “I would withhold my judgment on the Doha conference till it gets over. But there are tragic disasters happening right now. We need to make decisions on finance and set ambitious targets. The UN is a great institution and they need to address this situation. It is the biggest challenge to human existence. There are tragic disasters happening right now. We have seen the science, the way is clear, why are we not doing it. If UN doesn’t do anything, people of the world would lose hope.”
On hearing that the blog was set up by students, he added, “It is about time that young people make their governments realize their obligations, their failings.”
Here is a video of mr. Nadarev Sano’s speech: