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.
Today I joined hundreds of people from around the world in a walk out of the 19th UN climate talks. Oxfam has been keenly involved in the talks for a long time, fighting to help stop climate change, and to support people affected by it, and every day the urgency for governments to help gets greater. But year after year, the talks have been mostly just going through the motions – with very little progress on reducing emissions, or on raising the $100bn governments have promised to support people affected by climate change by 2020.
We have campaigned passionately and powerfully. Yet the public’s shouts of urgency for governments to act seem to be falling on deaf ears. This year, the talks have reached new lows: the hosting Polish government has colluded with the coal industry to present “clean coal” as a solution to climate change (it isn’t a solution). Australia has attacked the very principle of climate finance. Japan has even pledged to increase – not reduce – their emissions!
Enough is enough
This year we have an unprecedented opportunity to reconnect with people worldwide, and to start building a truly powerful movement for climate action in Warsaw. The solidarity movement for the Philippines, Filipino delegate Yeb Sano’s fast – and all the people who joined him are strong, loud and important. The world is getting impatient.
Now is the time to show governments that we won’t accept their lack of political will. That people around the world demand action. And that world leaders can’t ignore climate change any longer. That’s why so many organizations and individuals have walked out: to go and gather the voices of the public and return stronger than ever in 2014. We’ll be back.
Tell us: What do you think? Would you stay or would you go? Add your comment below, or tweet us @Oxfam.