Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson to lead world's first international climate hearing

Published: 15th December 2009


An international verdict on the human cost of climate change, delivered to world leaders, on behalf of over one and a half million people from 35 countries who have raised their voices at Oxfam-supported climate hearings in 2009.


Room Halfdan Rasmussen, next to the press conference room, Hall H, Bella Center, Copenhagen Climate Summit.


  • Oxfam global ambassador Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
  • Mary Robinson, former Irish President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Honorary Chair of Oxfam International.
  • UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer
  • Oxfam Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs

Oxfam climate witnesses:

  • Constance Okollet: a farmer from Uganda whose village faced death and hunger after an unprecedented drought was followed by flash flooding in 2007.
  • Shorbanu Khatun: a cyclone Aila survivor from Bangladesh now living with around 45,000 internally displaced people on the embankments of coastal area, Satkhira.
  • Cayetano Huanca: a farmer from Peru, whose village is suffering water shortages and hunger due to glacial melt and a changing climate.
  • Sharon Hanshaw: a hurricane Katrina survivor who lost her home and business of 21 years.


Tuesday 15 December 2009
10:45: Introduction from Chairperson, Oxfam Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs.
10:50: Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu opening statement.
11:00: Testimonies from Oxfam’s climate witnesses from Bangladesh, Peru, Uganda and the USA.
11:30: Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Honorary Chair of Oxfam verdict statement.
11:40: Media questions and answers
11:55: One to one interviews with climate witnesses and Mary Robinson. Note: Interviews with Mary Robinson must be scheduled in advance.
12:20: Move to NGO spot at entrance to Hall B3 opposite ICT service desk for photo opportunity
12:40: Photo call (NGO spot at entrance to Hall B3 opposite ICT service desk)
Mary Robinson and Oxfam’s climate witnesses will hand the verdict to Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary in front of a three metre-high lifebelt emblazoned with the message "Climate Change Kills, Act Now. Save Lives."

Notes to editors

Available to broadcasters: A free pool feed (in mini dv) containing pieces to camera and b-roll of everyday life and climate impacts on Constance Okollet from Uganda and Cayetano Huanca from Peru, as well as general b-roll of thousands of people attending climate hearings in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru and South Africa. Natural sound and natural light filmed in PAL, ratio:16:9.

Available to print and online journalist: High resolution photos, testimonies and real-life stories from Oxfam’s climate witnesses and climate hearings from around the world.

Oxfam International is a confederation of independent organisations from 14 countries around the world. It works to help others to tackle poverty.

Oxfam is a member of the tcktcktck campaign - a global coalition of environment and development organisations, faith and youth groups and unions that is calling for a fair, ambitious and binding climate agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009.

International Humanitarian Day:

Oxfam’s International Climate Hearing is part of International Humanitarian Day on Dec 15 2009.  A coalition of humanitarian actors, including NGOs, IGOs, the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement and UN family (also known as the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, or IASC), will join forces on Dec 15 to raise awareness of the human impact of climate change and call for action at a high level.

A number of events will be taking place throughout the day including: a leaders of today, young leaders of tomorrow event including Oxfam Chinese youth activist Xiao Xin; a press conference on how to help the most vulnerable adapt to climate change, with speakers including: John Holmes, UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Barbara Stocking, Chief Executive of Oxfam Great Britain and Dr. Dessima Williams, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN for Grenada.