The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivered a powerful message where he shared that “The current crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call. We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future.” He continued by proposing a six-step plan for action. On the same link you will also find the message of General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande who wrote that “We will only preserve Mother Earth through a paradigm shift from a human-centric society to an Earth-centred global ecosystem.”
A group of interfaith groups working on the international climate negotiations, which this year were supposed to take place in Glasgow, have released a statement regarding its cancellation, as well as speaking on COVID-19 and climate change. The Quaker United Nations Office helped write the statement, and Friends World Committee on Consultation is a signatory.
QUNO, through the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), is the only faith-based observer at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). At the latest IPCC Meeting, held from 24-28 February in Paris, countries negotiated an outline for the Synthesis Report of the upcoming 6th Assessment Report, to be released in 2022.
QUNO’s Representative for Climate Change, Lindsey Fielder Cook, made four interventions during the week, which can be found here, alongside additional information. These related to the addition of (or protecting existing) language on the essential role of civil society/public participation, rights-based approaches to climate action, non-economic losses and loss and damage when calculating ‘costs’, and ‘behavior change’ to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to locked in climate change.
QUNO delivered an oral statement at the 43rd session of the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC), recognizing the work of the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment showing how human rights are seriously affected by a degraded environment. QUNO’s statement, delivered by Programme Assistant Detmer Yens Kremer, encouraged the HRC to make “an historic contribution by adopting a resolution recognizing the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment,” and also emphasized that the time for action is now.
For the next session of the Human Rights Council, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has released a report on the rights of the child through a healthy environment. This report details the obligations of states and the responsibilities of states regarding the enjoyment of children’s rights and the environment. It includes climate change child activists, environmental health impacts of child labor, and best practices from international, regional, and national governments.
Lindsey Fielder Cook (Programme Representative Human Impacts of Climate Change, QUNO) has written an article summarizing and analyzing what happened during the COP25 in Madrid, Spain. She writes that “the COP25 was a sign of shifting pressures even in this tense geo-political environment. And this is important to note, since a COP is a reflection of national politics; essential work for progressive positions begins at home.” The article can be found here.
On December 3rd, Quaker United Nations Office and Quaker EarthCare Witness, together with Franciscans International, Brahma Kumaris, and World Council of Churches, hosted a side event at the COP25 in Madrid, Spain. This event was entitled “Inspiring Courage to Act and Adapt in a Climate Emergency”. The discussion was to explore ways to transform lives, communities, politics, and economics in our global efforts to mitigate, adapt, and foster resilience. The panel featured voices from state delegations, indigenous communities, faith-based organizations, science, and international organizations. The incomplete broadcast can be found here, and will be updated once technological issues are resolved.
At COP25 in Madrid an alliance of interfaith organizations released a statement highlighting the specific urgency and clarity faith voices bring to climate change. This statement covers an ambitious and essential range of standing in solidarity with those most affected by climate change, the need for a just and inclusive transition, and the necessity of rights-based approaches to climate change. It was signed by Britain Yearly Meeting and Quaker EarthCare Witness. You can watch the press conference itself here, and watch an additional press conference regarding Interfaith communities and climate change here. The statement itself can be accessed here.
A Government Official’s Toolkit: inspiring urgent climate action, with 12 concise cases and 231 quotes referenced to over 100 published papers (now including the IPCC Special Reports on: Global Warming of 1.5C Climate Change and Land Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate) is now available online. This update is written to support government officials—at local, regional and national levels—who are concerned about the impact of climate change on their citizens, their country, and the planet. It offers a range of concise cases to help you engage with different concerns, and integrate scientific, rights-based, and Indigenous knowledge and approaches throughout the Toolkit.
This toolkit serves to empower citizens to give and send to their government officials to inform and encourage calls for stronger climate action.
On Saturday, the 22nd of February, Friends World Committee on Consultation organized a global online conference to bring together Friends around the theme of sustainability. This conference aimed to bring Quakers together without creating a large carbon footprint to determine where we stand as Quakers regarding sustainability, and how to move forward in ways that align with our faith and practices. To read more about what was shared, which ministries arose, and ways to move forward, click here.