Climate Summit in Poland Must Ensure Justice to Vulnerable People

Amidst the devastating storms in the Philippines, China and the USA, floods in Nigeria, India and record temperatures in many parts of the world, the United Nations body to address climate change impacts met in Bonn.

The meeting addressed proposed recommendations for climate change displacement and undertook intense discussions on the scope of an important report on finance for loss and damage, amongst other issues.

Civil society representatives present at the meeting were dismayed by a continued lack of progress due to blocking from rich countries on key issues.

Next month the IPCC will report on 1.5oC of warming – the severe impacts of which should provide momentum to the climate summit in Poland in December – offering the impetus to countries to reset the perspective on addressing loss and damage.

Specifically, the meeting dealt with the findings of a year-long process mandated in 2015 at Paris to identify ways to help people displaced by climate change – whether it be people forced to move by increasingly violent storms, as we see in the Philippines, extreme floods like in Nigeria or people forced to move longer term by extreme droughts.

The Task Force on Displacement, composed of a number of experts from the field of displacement, compiled a set of recommendations addressing the UN climate process, governments, UN agencies and others.

Global Policy Lead on Climate Change and Resilience, Sven Harmeling said: “The work of the task force on displacement is the most comprehensive output on climate-related displacement under the UN climate process so far, and therefore also raises the bar for countries to take this matter seriously.

“Unfortunately, in three regards it fell far short from what is needed of meeting the needs of displaced people and at-risk communities.

First, it misses to highlight the need to promote gender equality in actions to address displacement, despite human rights references, which CARE welcomes.

Second, it fails to highlight clearly the absolute need to get down with carbon emissions to limit global warming as an exacerbating factor.

“And third, it is almost silent on the matter of financial support to assist poor affected countries in dealing with displacement in a rights-based manner, and how developed countries and other contributors should scale up finance.

Some developed countries have further resisted any meaningful discussion on raising support at the ExCom meeting.”
For Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change for ActionAid “While the UN committee acknowledged the rising challenge of climate induced migration, it failed to commit to concrete actions that will help the affected people.

The whole world is facing unprecedented climate impacts and the urgent support is required by poor people in developing nations who are being forced out of their homes.”

The vulnerable people and countries facing the worst impacts of climate change urgently need more finance to help them to cope.

The loss and damage mechanism has an objective to mobilise finance for loss and damage – and it has been widely criticised for not meeting this objective.

“Even after five years of its existence, the committee has little to show in terms of providing money to the ones displaced by climate disasters.

Rich countries continue to delay and obfuscate to stop vulnerable people getting the financial support they need to put their life back together after the disaster,” Singh adds.

At the December Climate Summit, governments will have the opportunity to set the scene for the review of the loss and damage mechanism in 2019 and agree stronger recommendations to address climate displacement and provide finance for vulnerable people who are being increasingly hammered by extreme climate impacts.


Source: The Guardian

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