By Tierney Smith
RTCC in Durban
“We are all one and the same”, said Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador to the UN for the Seychelles when he joined the Occupy COP17 movement on Friday.
Jameau joined Ambassador Dessima Williams from Grenada and Ambassador Marlene Moses from Nauru and the African Rural Women’s Assembly.
This follows a call from the Alliance of Small Island States yesterday urging for a new legally binding commitment to be ready by the end of 2012, when they Kyoto Protocol runs out – a call which has had opposition from the majority of developed countries who are looking ahead at a timetable up to 2015 or 2020.
But Ambassador Moses was resolute speaking to the crowds; countries like Nauru and Grenada and the entire African continent can not wait till the end of the decade for such a deal.
“I come from a region, where by the end of the century the low lying atolls will be submerged as sea levels rise,” she said. “There will be hundreds of storm surges, droughts, our food security will be compromised, our water security, our survivability.
“So we thank each and every one of you here today for being our conscience. And we will continue to be your voice in those halls and in the negotiating room. We represent the people of our countries and that’s each and every one of you here today. Thank you for your steadfastness, your faithfulness and for your conviction that ensures we do our job properly for the people.”
The Occupy COP17 movement has been building up slowly over the first week of the conference. Now with several more banners and a plot filled with Guerrilla gardening the group is now bedded in ahead of the arrival of ministers and heads of state next week.
And today saw the General Assembly grow in numbers as the African Rural Women’s Assembly joined the group, adding their voice to the protest for climate justice.
Jameau stressed the need for this co-operation in his speech to crowds, when he remarked on the similarities of what countries in Africa and Island Countries face as the effects of climate change worsen.
“I want to send a message to the city of Durban. We have heard from the islands – from the Caribbean, from the Pacific and I come from the Indian Ocean. The same message applies to the poor city of Durban,” he said. “I live on the beach front and from what I see from my hotel window when the storm surges come to cover our island they will cover the low lying parts of Durban.”
“The conference in Durban cannot condemn us without condemning itself. So our message is the message of all the people of Durban – during COP17 you are all small islanders. So don’t save us, save yourselves. We are one and the same.”