Ms Nor Lastrina Hamid of the Singapore Youth for Climate Action (SYAC) was spoke at the Conference of the Parties (COP21) on behalf on world youth to voice their concerns over climate change and call for a legally-binding agreement between parties to ensure actions to be taken and not mere empty promises.
Below is her speech in full:
“My name is Lastrina. I am from Singapore, and I have the honour of speaking on behalf of the youth constituency.
As young people, we would like to voice grave concerns that this process is becoming more and more exclusive as we speak. Monsieur Fabius has said that to achieve a strong agreement we need a transparent and inclusive process, not only among the Parties to the Convention, but also with members of Civil Society.
However, in the past week we have seen the opposite. Negotiations have once again been closed to observers, interventions have been limited, and our voices have been silenced. Now that you have finally given us a space to express ourselves, listen to what we have to say:
Last Monday, at the heads of state event, there were numerous calls for climate justice and action. Leaders expressed that “Never have the stakes been so high,” “the fate of humanity is on the table” and that “we are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change, and the last generation that can do something about it.” They were right. The stakes have never been so high. But if the fate of humanity is on the table, then where is the action you so boldly discuss?
Action, not empty promises, will save our populations from starving, dying of thirst, and perishing in floods. You are responsible for the emissions in the past. We don’t want history to repeat itself, stop the carbon colonialism.
We, the youth, demand that parties [reach] an agreement that closes the ambition gap and keeps the temperature increase below 1.5 degrees. Developed countries must take the lead based on their historical responsibility and their respective capabilities. We call for a legally binding agreement that is no longer mitigation-centric, but acknowledges the need for strong adaptation measures, a bold loss and damage mechanism, technology transfer, capacity building, as well as finance flowing from North to South. These elements are crucial to help vulnerable communities cope with the enduring effects of climate change in a way that is both just and equitable.
From now onward, youth from all over the world will rise up to hold you to your promises. The time to act was yesterday. 21 years of inaction have passed. We have told you what you need to do.
Get it done.”
Hear what the Ms Lastrina and other youths from Singapore had to say more about the conference held at Paris.