Statement by Nakeeyat Dramani Sam, CVF Thematic Ambassador for Youth, on behalf of the Ghana CVF Presidency at the Informal Stocktaking Plenary at COP27
18 November 2022
Thank you, Mr. President.
My name is Nakeyaat Dramani Sam. I am from Ghana and I am the Climate Vulnerable Forum Ambassador for the Youth. I am very much honoured to be speaking in front of you all on behalf of the 1.5 billion people who live in our 58 CVF countries. We are actually mainly young people like me.
Many of us see dark clouds gathering on the horizon of Mother Earth. Last month in Accra where I live in Ghana, there was a heavy rain that burst a dam on the River Densu. Cars were under water, people were paddling canoes where there had been streets. Thousands fled their houses. It was very scary. If it is going to get much worse, then I think we fear how much our future is on the line
I come here and listen. I came not long ago, and I have been observing what’s going on, I’ve been speaking to many of you, and you guys have been really nice to me. We have brought with us a campaign called “Payment Overdue”. I’m sure you already know about this. Yes, you are very smart. Because some of the communities in my country Ghana are paying heavy prices since our planet was lit on fire by some people. This puts a simple question on the table of these fire-starters: When can you pay us back? Because Payment is overdue.
I met Mr. John Kerry: he visited our pavilion earlier this week, he spoke to us and he was very nice to us. And I think next year, he will be 80 years old. I am sure he has children and grandchildren. Well, I am ten, and by the time I will be his age, god willing, that will be the end of this century.
Our new CVF Lancet research says that, by then, several million especially older people could die worldwide, every single year, due to the overheated planet. As we say in the CVF: “the fate of the most vulnerable will be the fate of the world”. If we stop warming at 1.5 degrees as we agreed in Paris, and again in Glasgow, nearly all these deaths won’t happen. But if we even go at least higher to 2 degrees, only half of these terrible deaths will be stopped.
One lady spoke here about the IPCC saying that there’s less than 86 months to go before we hit 1.5 ! And I’m already much older than that.
So dear people at this COP, I appeal to you: Have a heart, and do the math. It’s an emergency ! If all of you were to be young people like me, would you have not already agreed to do what is needed to save our planet? Should we let the youth take over? Maybe only the youth delegations should be at the next COP ?
Right now, I kindly ask you to pause for a second, and spare a thought for our children or our grandchildren, and our nieces and nephews? Or to remember ourselves at my age.
Mr President, it is my real hope that this COP27 will act for us. I am sure nobody wants to betray us. Today is Friday, and like I am doing, kids around the world have been absent from school on this day to show how much we care for the planet.
Please, be so kind and hear these requests we have for you:
One: Decide here to do more of your fair share for 1.5 – as rich, powerful and polluting nations. Please do not come back next year, to yet another COP, empty handed
Two: Decide now, again, if you are rich and powerful nations, to provide funds to help the ones who suffer most the costs of climate disaster not caused by us. Please do not leave our communities exposed, hurt and out of pocket while holding more and more of these COPs. You will just get older and older – you are already old enough !
I know you wouldn’t want to be judged severely, come tomorrow. You wouldn’t steal our planet earth from us whilst we are on this land of peace. Show us your courage. Be our heroes instead. Act here now. When is “now”, if not today.
Mr. President, I am trying to do whatever I can: I have written a book called “Trees for Life” to help children of my community to understand environmental issues better. I started my project, called « one child one tree » for the millions of youth back in my country.
But no matter what I do, and no matter what all the youth around the globe do, this problem is too big. We are not the future unless you also take action.
Please: climate delegates of the United Nations, be our heroes here in Sharm el Sheikh.
I am closing, and in closing, I want to recite you all a verse from my poem: Oh mbofra hon asem ye mmbobor
All I mean is: Duty bearers, kindly take up your game.
I thank you very much for your attention.