Philippine envoy ends fast as UN climate talks end

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 November, 2013, 2:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 November, 2013, 10:00pm


For one Philippines diplomat, Yeb Sano, Saturday's close of UN climate talks in Warsaw came with an unusual prize: he can eat again.

The climate envoy had embarked on a tea-and-water only fast on the first day of the talks on November 11, in a symbolic push for a good outcome.

"I am famished. I am famished!" the senior climate envoy said at the Warsaw National Stadium where the discussions ended in a number of consensus agreements on Saturday.

"My doctor says I should take it slowly, so in three days I will be eating normal food."

What will tonight's meal be?

"Some vegetable juice," the negotiator said, laughing.

Sano had pledged to fast until the latest round of UN talks made "meaningful" progress towards fighting the climate change he blames for Typhoon Haiyan, which ravaged his country.

"I would say, the COP (conference of parties, as these gatherings are known) did not come out with the kind of outcome I thought would have been meaningful.

"But I also said that I will be fasting for the duration of the COP. This COP is about to close so I'll be able to eat."

Sano's move was also meant as a show of solidarity with his countrymen, relatives and friends who were left stranded and hungry after the powerful super typhoon.

Sano said he had felt weak from time to time, and was by Saturday "exhausted". This also had to do with the fact that he hadn't slept for nearly three days, like many other negotiators.

"But this is nothing compared to the suffering that my people in the hardest hit areas of Typhoon Haiyan are suffering right now ... and the many, many people around the world who struggle with the impacts of climate change.

Scientists warn that earth will see ever more severe storms, droughts and sea-level rises as temperatures increase on the back of fossil fuel combustion.