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A matter of life or death

November 9, 2021

(United Nations News) Massive floods, devastating wildfires, and rising seas – along with the countless lives they take and livelihoods they upend – are realities many nations are already facing. Voices from the front lines of climate change and its impacts were centre stage to start week two of COP26, which kicked off Monday in Glasgow with a focus on ‘adaptation, loss and damage’.

Their main call: developed countries must uphold their promise of finance and support to the small states that are at risk of losing so much to the combat against climate change.

“Climate change for us in the islands is not an abstract thing. It is real and it is lived every single day and if mitigation is a marathon getting us to that 1.5 target, adaptation is the sprint as we battle the impacts and the urgency to protect life and livelihoods.”

Climate and Environment Minister of GRENADA, Simon Stiell

“From the ocean came forth life, peace and comfort, a world not known to most but that was one with my people…We will remember a time when our homes stood proud and tall, for today they stand no more. That place is now taken by the ocean”.

The eighth day of the UN Climate Conference began with a poem recited by an activist from Papua New Guinea, an island nation that lies in the South-western Pacific. Her words resonated throughout the meeting room in the Blue Zone, while tears appeared to be rolling down her cheeks.

“We will never know when the tide raises and swallows our homes. Our cultures, our languages and our traditions will be taken by the ocean. When you say by 2030 to 2050, how can you see deadlines 9 to 29 years away when my people have proved that we must act now and not waste any more time,” she said, explaining that the ocean that once gave her people life, now has become an “executioner”.

Staff Writer, CARICOM November 9, 2021

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