By Climate Himalaya, October 10, 2011
The Philippines and Bangladesh joined forces for an initiative in the United Nations Human Rights Council to urge the international community to address the adverse effects of climate change on human rights.
Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Evan P. Garcia, presented the resolution early this week after increasing severity of typhoons and natural disasters suffered by the Philippines and other climate-vulnerable countries.
The Human Rights Council resolution entitled “Human Rights and Climate Change” expresses concern that climate change poses an immediate and far-reaching threat to people and communities around the world and has adverse implications for the enjoyment of human rights.
“Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing the world community, with direct and severe impacts on a wide range of human rights,” Garcia said. “The Philippines is extremely vulnerable to climate change, and our people experience the adverse effects of climate change on their human rights and livelihoods on a daily basis.”
He said extreme weather events such as increasing typhoons and floods wreck havoc on thousands of peoples’ lives.
Sea rise and coral bleaching directly impact on the fundamental human rights to life, food, health and adequate housing of our people, Garcia added.
“In a generation, the Philippines could stand to lose 300 of its islands due to climate change. The most vulnerable groups, such as the poor, women and children and indigenous peoples, unjustly bear the brunt of climate change. Many other countries, especially developing and least developing countries — those least responsible for climate change — are experiencing similar problems,” he said.
The following 41 countries from all regions of the world co-sponsored the Philippines-Bangladesh initiative: Algeria, Benin, Djibouti, Indonesia, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cuba, Ecuador, Maldives, Mauritius, Peru, Qatar, Romania, Senegal, Spain, Chad, Germany, Ireland, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Monaco, Singapore, Sudan, Egypt, Greece, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Nicaragua and Montenegro.
The resolution recognizes the challenges of climate change to development and to the progress made towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.It also acknowledges that the global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, in accordance with the common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and their social and economic conditions.
The council reaffirmed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the objectives and principles thereof, as well as the commitment to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the convention now and up to and beyond 2012, in order to stabilize the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere causing climate change.
Civil society groups strongly supported the Philippines-Bangladesh initiative, especially in light of the crucial phase in climate change negotiations with the Kyoto Protocol soon to expire.
The resolution requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to convene a seminar on addressing the adverse impacts of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights, with a view to following up on the call for respecting human rights in all climate change-related actions and policies, and forging stronger interface and cooperation between the human rights and climate change communities.
The outcome of the seminar, including recommendations, would form the basis of future action of the Human Rights Council to address the adverse effects of climate change on human rights.