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Ugandan climate activist wants leaders to reflect on climate crisis

Climate activist Vanessa Nakate of Uganda attends a press conference in Paris, Thursday, June 22, 2023   -  
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Lewis Joly/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


Climate activist Vanessa Nakate faced an audience packed with world leaders and finance officials on Thursday, silenced the room and made everyone listen to some uncomfortable facts.

Speaking at a two-day summit aimed at seeking better responses to tackle poverty and climate change issues by reshaping the global financial system, the young climate activist from Uganda was in a somber mood.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Nakate said that "in that moment I really wanted our leaders to have a certain kind of reflection and ponder also on the impacts of the climate crisis. It is one thing for us to talk about statistics, to talk about numbers. But it is not statistics that are starving in the Horn of Africa."

Speaking right after French President Emmanuel Macron, who hosted the summit, Nakate urged delegates to put the people first instead of profits, to make polluters pay, to cancel debt and direct climate finance towards vulnerable countries that did not create the climate crisis - while making sure fossil fuels are not part of their development.

Nakate told the AP that this conference in Paris will be successful if goals are accomplished, not just talked about.

"We have seen promises" she said, "you know we have had commitments but then many of them are never fulfilled. So we hope that whatever comes out of this, it turns into tangible action."

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