As a young Irish person, passionate about my future and my country, I wanted to be at COP27 to be able to influence Ireland’s position on tackling the climate crisis. It’s vital that young people are here at the centre of these conversations, and are being heard by our world leaders and politicians.
Since my first day at COP27, however, I realised that having our voices heard is going to be a major challenge. While it is great to be in the room and to be able to listen to the world leaders as they make their national statements, some areas at COP are very restrictive.
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This COP, which is being held in Egypt, is extra special for me as my family is originally from Somalia, a country that is in the eye of the climate change storm. More than one million people in Somalia have been displaced due to the worst drought in 40 years. Hundreds of thousands of people are hungry as crops have failed and livestock died. My mother came to Ireland in 2005 with my older sister. I was born and raised here, but I still have a special link to the people of Somalia. COP is a wonderful opportunity to meet people from all over the world and to connect and share our stories and experiences.
I am most interested in hearing more about Loss and Damage, which has been added to the agenda, making this COP very important. So far, most of the world leaders that have given their nations statement have acknowledged that it is the developing nations that are suffering the worst consequences of climate change, even though that have done least to cause it. And they have acknowledged the injustice of this. But now it is time for them to follow through.
This year’s COP will be one of the most difficult ones yet. COP26 ended with a global consensus on the need to limit temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Vows were made to return to this year’s conference with strengthened commitments. COP26 was all about setting goals, COP27 is about accomplishing them.
We all know that the time to act isn’t today. It was yesterday and every day before that. I’m hoping at COP27, world leaders wake up and see the disaster that has unfolded as a result of inaction.
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