A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
On a cold and grey Monday morning this week, delegates entering the International Maritime Organization (IMO) offices were greeted by a rather unusual sight. Oxfam and partner organizations’ supporters dressed up in boat costumes, handing out origami boats!
The reason? Delegates were meeting to discuss proposals to reduce emissions from shipping, including schemes that could generate substantial finance. And this money could play an important role in helping to raise money to fill the Climate Fund, set up in Cancun last year – it’s estimated programs to reduce emissions from international transport could generate at least US$12 billion a year. So we wanted to make sure the delegates knew people around the world were watching and cared what happened inside the meeting.
We asked you to send us your messages to the IMO via Twitter and on our blogs, and we printed the best ones on to origami boats and boat costumes that we greeted delegates with as they entered the meeting. We certainly got their attention!
We got a really positive response and most were only too happy to take a boat with your messages printed on into the meeting - we gave out more than 400 boats in less than two hours!
Unfortunately it looks like the meeting hasn’t produced a major breakthrough, either to address shipping emissions or raise money for climate finance. But importantly there are a number of options still very much on the table, and there are good opportunities coming up this year for more progress to be made.
As Tim Gore, Climate Change Policy Advisor at Oxfam, explains, the next step in the battle to ensure shipping plays its part in the fight against climate change is to “take it up again within the UNFCCC negotiations (in Bangkok from the 3rd – 9th April) where vulnerable countries are pressing for decisions on sources of long term climate finance, in which shipping can play its part." "It is also now vital that the G20 hears the call of vulnerable countries, picks up the baton from the IMO and forges a high level political deal to raise climate finance from international transport and tackle the rapidly growing emissions from ships and planes in the process. That could be the additional spur that the IMO needs to get a deal that gets new money to those that need it most.”
So not quite the LeaderShip(!) we were hoping for, but there’s still lots more opportunities this year to #FilltheFund. Stayed posted to see how you can get involved…