The poor are among the first to experience the effects of the climate crisis despite being the smallest contributors to it.

This is what some Philippine-based civil society organizations (CSOs) will raise at the United Nations’ (UN) 28th Climate Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai, UAE.

Fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), who is set to address COP28 this week, is gearing to raise issues concerning sea-level rise and other climate-induced marine ecological disasters, and will ask accountability from countries that fund “polluting” activities in the Philippines.

“Fishing communities in the Philippines, being an archipelagic country, are one of the first ones to experience the catastrophic climate crisis,” the group said in a statement on Sunday.

The fishers’ group noted that studies show an unprecedented rise in sea level which averages to 8.4 millimeters a year from 1901 until 2022 – three times the global average.

“This phenomenon is already causing inundation of communities, massive and ill-planned displacement, and disruption in traditional fishing practices,” Pamalakaya added.

The group likewise said that it would also express concern over the destruction of fish habitats and marine ecosystems by foreign-funded projects, including reclamation, which results in drastic losses of income for Filipino fisherfolk.

“We will demand for concrete accountability from rich countries who have been the main culprits of the climate crisis and have been funding destructive projects including large-scale mining, land-use conversion, monocrop plantations, dump-and-fill projects, among others that cause degradation of marine resources and socio-economic rights of marginalized farmers and fishers,” the group said.

“This situation has not only incurred damages in our environment, but has also brought losses in our daily livelihood activities, not to mention its impacts to our basic rights. Accountability and reparations must be sought,” Pamalakaya added.