For those unable to attend in person, the event was livestreamed on the UN’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxi6zyOk2o4).
The event featured notable speakers who provided valuable insights and perspectives on the topic:
Ian Fry (UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights & Climate Change): Ian discussed the severe impacts of climate change on human rights and stressed the urgency of addressing human-induced climate displacement. He called for the recognition of the interconnections between human rights and climate change in the GST. Ian shared stories from his country visit to Bangladesh in 2022 and the need to report to the Human Rights Council on these issues. He also highlighted the need for intergenerational justice to be recognized in the GST.
Harjeet Singh (CAN-International): Harjeet emphasized that the GST should encompass a comprehensive range of climate actions, including mitigation, adaptation, means of implementation, finance, technology, capacity building, and loss and damage. He questioned why the Paris Agreement fails to mention fossil fuels and why rich countries have not fulfilled their fair share of climate action. Harjeet called for addressing past injustices, defining equity, promoting participatory decision-making, ensuring gender equality, enabling a just transition, and enhancing accountability and transparency.
Michelle Schwarz (Youth & Faith Voice, Ethical Perspectives) -LWF: Michelle emphasized the moral and economic irrationality of investing in new fossil fuels. She highlighted the sensitivity of young people to issues of justice and injustice and questioned the concrete results of actions taken thus far.
Frances Namumu (Fiji Methodist Church): Frances represented Woman Indigenous Peoples’ Voice from the World Council of Churches via video message. She highlighted the perspectives of indigenous communities on the GST and climate justice.
During the Q&A session, the speakers addressed various topics:
Ian Fry highlighted the misconceptions regarding human rights issues in the integration of human rights into the Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) Action Plan in COP27.
Harjeet Singh emphasized the need for a faster system to reach out to countries in terms of climate finance. He called for addressing control issues related to funding arrangements, exploring alternatives to insurance for slow-onset climate events, and implementing social safety nets.
The speakers stressed the importance of taxing the fossil fuel industry, shifting mindsets from what can be done to what must be done, and ensuring the participation of communities and indigenous peoples.
The participants discussed the transition from discussions to action and the issue of accountability. Harjeet Singh called for a more political approach, holding polluters accountable, and ensuring justice. He highlighted the need to address the cycling nature and continuum of climate impacts. Just transitions were identified as an essential area for further work.
The event concluded with final comments from the speakers. They highlighted the importance of considering the well-being of future generations, paying respect to environmental human rights activists, challenging the existing economic model, recognizing the strength and power of the UN system and civil society organizations, and placing focused pressure on the fossil fuel industry. The need for systemic change and the urgency to address climate change from a human rights and ethical perspective were strongly emphasized.
Tags: SB 58 Side Event - Brahma Kumaris