Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP), the Philippine chapter of the Fridays for Future movement led by international climate activist Greta Thunberg, held a creative protest action in front of Dusit Thani hotel in Makati City today, as the country hosted the 18th meeting of the United Nations Executive.Committee on the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage fund.
“The only way loss and damage can truly be addressed is for the Global North to pay up! It was only last November in the UN Climate Summit that the need for a formal monetary fund was even discussed by the international governments. We are not demanding money for nothing. This is money we are owed!” said Alab Ayroso, national coordinator of YACAP.
The Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) seeks to address and give reparations to countries most-hit by the worst associated effects of climate change, of which the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable. YACAP and representatives from marginalized communities and sectors staged the creative action to register critical support for the WIM Executive Committee who would be meeting throughout the week to discuss the mechanics behind the Loss and Damage fund.
In a letter addressed to the Executive Committee, climate activists and sectoral representatives stressed the importance of coming together to ensure a “pro-people, pro-planet” fund as central to their demands. They pushed the WIM Committee to recognize the responsibility of developed countries as the largest global polluters, and therefore also responsible for financing reparations to the countries worst-hit by climate disasters. The letter also called for the creation of a consultative body composed of representatives from indigenous people, farmers and fisherfolk, and other vulnerable communities in deciding the allocation of Loss and Damage funds.
“Global North countries and other big polluters are the most responsible for the climate crisis. Because of their emissions, countries like the Philippines have lost billions of dollars in agriculture and infrastructure due to worsening typhoons and droughts. More importantly, the loss of ecosystems, loss of community, and loss of human life are unquantifiable.” added Ayroso.
To symbolize the necessity of reparations, representatives from the WIM Executive Committee, YACAP, and other marginalized sectors presented a puzzle map of the Philippines with blacked-out “missing” regions corresponding to areas most impacted by recent climate disasters. They each took part in piecing together the puzzle map; signifying their solidarity and commitment to ensuring the proper allocation of the Loss and Damage fund for rehabilitation and pro-people, pro-planet development.
The protesters also stressed the urgency of achieving such a funding mechanism. “The big polluters from the Global North need to pay up for their destruction. Immediate loss and damage finance is a crucial step in the resolution of the climate crisis for the developing world. The Filipino people have no time to lose in the face of the climate crisis.” explained Jon Bonifacio, spokesperson of Peoples Rising for Climate Justice (PRCJ).
The planned dialogue after the creative action with members of the WIM Executive Committee and representatives of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) did not push through. A letter of demands to the WIM and related pressing environmental and climate concerns was given to the DENR.
Despite police presence and harassment from hotel security, we were able to complete our program, and deliver a letter to the WIM Executive Committee and DENR representatives detailing our demands for just and transparent climate finance.
The Philippines is one of many countries that have suffered unimaginable losses due to the climate crisis. It is time the Global North, carbon majors, and big polluters pay reparations.