AP

Ghanaian girl cuts through jargon, delivers message at COP27

Nov 18, 2022, 11:19 AM | Updated: 11:54 am

Nakeeyat Dramani Sam, of Ghana, poses for photos at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Friday, Nov. 18,...

Nakeeyat Dramani Sam, of Ghana, poses for photos at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. She made a plea for negotiators at the summit to come to an agreement that could help curb global warming. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

(AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

SHARM el-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — By their very nature, U.N. climate negotiations are filled with scientific and diplomatic jargon.

So, when 10-year-old Nakeeyat Dramani Sam spoke during a plenary session Friday with hundreds of delegates, her soft voice and direct message cut through the dryness, a reminder to negotiators and everybody listening that decisions made at climate talks can have a direct impact on people.

Talking about suffering in Ghana due to flooding, she held up a sign that said, “Payment Overdue.”

“I put a simple question on the table,” she said. “When can you pay us back? Because payment is overdue.”

Sam was talking about a thorny issue that has taken center stage over the last two weeks of negotiations at the summit called COP27, hosted in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Many developing nations are insisting that rich countries, which have contributed most to climate change because of high greenhouse emissions, compensate them for the damage.

In climate negotiations, the issue is called “loss and damage.” It’s a topic that produces a wide range of opinions and nuanced battle lines. Developed nations like the United States have resisted such calls for compensation, not wanting to be on the hook for what could be open-ended liability. China, also a high-carbon emitting country, supports the idea of rich nations contributing to such payments but doesn’t want to pay. On Thursday, the European Union put forward a proposal to create a fund for loss and damage. While the proposal gave negotiators something specific to chew on, it also likely deepened divisions.

Sam’s speech didn’t bother with the machinations of negotiations, but rather had the kind of frankness and freshness that comes natural to children.

She told the attendees that she had met with U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry earlier this week. Kerry had been nice, she said, and the meeting got her thinking about the future.

Her next sentence had humor in it, though she certainly didn’t mean for that.

“By the time I’m his age, God willing, it will be the end of this century,” she said, implicitly saying, as kids often do about adults, that Kerry was old. Kerry is 78.

Shortly after that came a powerful and direct message.

Talking about how scientists say the world has less than a decade left to continue polluting at today’s rates before the effects of global warming get much worse, Sam said: “Have a heart and do the math. It’s an emergency.”

When Sam finished speaking, she received a standing ovation.

In an interview afterward, Sam said that her environmentalism began a few years ago with a love for trees. She wrote a children’s book about trees in Ghana and to date has planted over 100 trees.

“I also call for action that every child must plant a tree,” she said, standing with her mother and aunt.

Sam said that she was a poet, and when prompted recited from memory a poem about climate change that ended with exhortations for rich countries to assume responsibility for historical climate damage and pay up. Children were the best people to deliver such messages, she said, because they would be around to suffer the consequences of warming planet.

“We are the future leaders, so when we talk people listen,” she said. “I don’t know about the adults because I’m not at their age. “

____

Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Nakeeyat Dramani Sam, of Ghana, poses for photos at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. She made a plea for negotiators at the summit to come to an agreement that could help curb global warming. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
            
              Nakeeyat Dramani Sam, of Ghana, center, attends a review of the state of discussions at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. She made a plea for negotiators at the summit to come to an agreement that could help curb global warming. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
            
              Nakeeyat Dramani Sam, on screen, of Ghana, speaks at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. She made a plea for negotiators at the summit to come to an agreement that could help curb global warming. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
            
              Nakeeyat Dramani Sam, of Ghana, poses for photos at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. She made a plea for negotiators at the summit to come to an agreement that could help curb global warming. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
            
              Nakeeyat Dramani Sam, of Ghana, holds a sign that reads "payment overdue" at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. She made a plea for negotiators at the summit to come to an agreement that could help curb global warming. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
            
              Nakeeyat Dramani Sam, of Ghana, poses for photos at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. She made a plea for negotiators at the summit to come to an agreement that could help curb global warming. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

AP

Lead water pipes pulled from underneath the street are seen in Newark, N.J., Oct. 21, 2021. (AP Pho...

Associated Press

Biden to require cities to replace harmful lead pipes within 10 years

The Biden administration has previously said it wants all of the nation's roughly 9 million lead pipes to be removed, and rapidly.

3 days ago

Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on, Oct. 28, 2...

Associated Press

Meta shuts down thousands of fake Facebook accounts that were primed to polarize voters ahead of 2024

Meta said it removed 4789 Facebook accounts in China that targeted the United States before next year’s election.

4 days ago

A demonstrator in Tel Aviv holds a sign calling for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel war on Nov. 21...

Associated Press

Hamas releases a third group of hostages as part of truce, and says it will seek to extend the deal

The fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was back on track Sunday as the first American was released under a four-day truce.

8 days ago

Men look over the site of a deadly explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 18, ...

Associated Press

New AP analysis of last month’s deadly Gaza hospital explosion rules out widely cited video

The Associated Press is publishing an updated visual analysis of the deadly Oct. 17 explosion at Gaza's Al-Ahli Hospital.

12 days ago

Peggy Simpson holds a photograph of law enforcement carrying Lee Harvey Oswald's gun through a hall...

Associated Press

JFK assassination remembered 60 years later by surviving witnesses to history, including AP reporter

Peggy Simpson is among the last surviving witnesses who are sharing their stories as the nation marks the 60th anniversary.

12 days ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, ...

Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas; deal includes release of 50 hostages

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire deal with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war.

12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]

...

SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

...

DAY & NIGHT AIR CONDITIONING, HEATING AND PLUMBING

Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

Ghanaian girl cuts through jargon, delivers message at COP27