In December QUNO attended the COP24 in Katowice, Poland. Lindsey Fielder Cook feeds back on the outcomes of the COP and the negotiations on the Paris rule-book in her article ‘The Bare Minimum‘.
At the COP, QUNO worked with others to create a side event that gathered a diversity of voices. With speakers from the interfaith community, a scientist from the IPCC, and leadership from the UNFCC the event’s focus was on working together across differences: Building a Spirit of Solidarity to overcome climate crisis Thursday, 06 Dec 2018 15:00-16:30. A recording of the event is still available to view via the UNFCCC webcast site.
QUNO also observed the operationalisation of the Local Communities and Indigenous People’s Platform, which will meet for their first Facilitated Working Group meeting in Bonn preceding the SB50.
A summary of the COP’s outcomes are available on the UNFCCC website.
In his report to the Fortieth Session of the Human Rights Council of march this year, the new Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David Boyd, highlights global normative acceptance of states regarding their obligations to provide a healthy environment. In his report, Boyd states: “In total, at least 155 States are legally obligated, through treaties, constitutions, and legislation, to respect, protect and fulfil the right to a healthy environment.”
Boyd’s report argues for the fastest possible action to respond to the most pressing environmental issues. The proof that the majority of countries already have legally enshrined this obligation is compelling evidence of a growing consensus enough to encourage the multilateral fora to take swift and effective action to be proactive in providing a healthy and safe environment.
You can read the Special Rapporteur’s report here.
On March 21, the 40th session of the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution recognizing the importance of environmental human rights defenders and their protection.
The resolution was proposed by Norway and titled “Recognizing the contribution of environmental human rights defenders to the enjoyment of human rights, environmental protection, and sustainable development.”
Why was this resolution needed:
Environmental human rights defenders play a key role in protecting ecosystems and supporting a healthy and sustainable environment for all. Defending nature against greater destruction often comes with immense risks; in 2018, 321 human rights defenders were targeted and killed for their work — the highest number on record so far. More than three-quarters of those murdered were environmental human rights defenders.
Key aspects of the resolution include:
- Countries are called to adopt laws and protection measures to guarantee protection for defenders
- A requirement for accountability for attacks and threats against defenders
- A call for businesses to carry out due diligence and meaningful inclusion and consultation for those who would be affected by their plans
You can view the declaration here
The Escazú Agreement is a ground breaking multilateral agreement signed by 16 Latin America and Caribbean nations that will be a crucial tool for climate and environmental protection in the years to come.
Articles 8 and 9 concern access to justice, especially significant for human rights defenders.
At the end of 2018 the IPCC published their full report on the difference between 1.5 °C verses 2 °C warming. The report was a comprehensive 700 page exploration. The United Nations met in Inchon in South Korea to negotiate the Summary Report for Policy Makers. This special report is the much shorter with less information on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The report was defined by the political voices in the room, but was crafted to help states choose actions in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.
The full report , the summary report and more are both available on the IPCC’s website.
QUNO completed their newest toolkit in time for 2018’s Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Katowice.
The document was aimed at ensuring that negotiators and government officials. Every single argument made in the toolkit was referenced to the most up-to-date scientific research, meaning that officials had access to all the facts that they needed in order truly understand the importance of their own actions at the COP and beyond.
You can access the toolkit here.
Today, and for the duration of the COP 24 we will be holding Friend Alan Burns in the light. Alan passed away on the 11th of November whilst carrying out a pilgrimage from the Vatican to Katowice. More information about Alan is available on his blog. To hear about the pilgrims who have continued their walk, more information is available on the Facebook page.
We thank Liz for writing this post and sharing it with us.
“Many of you know that my husband Alan Burns has been in Europe for the past several months on a pilgrimage to raise awareness about climate change. He and a group of fellow activists were walking from Rome to Katowice Poland in time for the Climate Conference. I received news Sunday morning that Alan had died while the pilgrims were in Slovenia. Please hold Alan, his family, and his friends in the light as we process this transition, and do whatever is in your power to continue his work to avert the worst catastrophe this planet has faced. Alan was a kind soul and a tireless worker for peace, justice, and equality; he lived his life as he hoped others would, and I think died doing exactly what he wanted to be doing – helping the save the world.”
We are grateful to Alan for his life and his unwavering light given to the important issue of climate change which is also close to our own hearts.