by Recto Mercene | July 19, 2021 | Published by BusinessMirror | READ THE STORY HERE

If highly developed economies are not spared from the effects of climate change—as seen in recent floods that killed over 160 people in Europe and the wildfires in California—vulnerable countries should be even more aggressive in demanding the speedy adoption of measures to mitigate global warming that fuels climate change.

This in effect is what happened when the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted recently a resolution, initiated by the Philippines, recognizing climate change as a human-rights crisis, particularly among the most vulnerable.

Co-signatory with the Philippines are Bangladesh and Vietnam. Dhaka and Hanoi, which are apparel producing cities, like Ho Chi Minh City, and Guangzhou, China, are projected to be underwater by 2030, according to two Cornell researchers commissioned by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The UN Council encouraged continued discussions among States and relevant stakeholders on the possible creation of a new Special Procedure addressing the adverse impact of climate change on the full and effective enjoyment of human rights.

It also decided to incorporate into its annual program of work, beginning in 2023, sufficient time for at a minimum a panel discussion, to discuss different specific themes on the adverse impacts of climate change on human rights.

The researchers warned that the problem of rising sea levels is receiving little attention from those leading sustainability efforts in the sector.

Reacting to the adoption of the Philippine resolution, Denise Fontanilla, associate for policy advocacy of the Manila-based climate and energy policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), said: “We congratulate the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Mission in Geneva for championing human rights and climate action, which led to yesterday’s adoption of the resolution.”

Fontanilla added: “As a climate-vulnerable country, we are heartened by the efforts of the Philippines and other members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) — particularly Bangladesh, Vietnam, and the Marshall Islands—to address climate change on all fronts, mobilizing not only their climate and environment ministries but also their finance ministries and diplomatic missions.

“Countries vulnerable to climate change continue to lead the fight by offering financial instruments aimed at drawing down the cost of capital for transforming their economies, and by establishing the fact of massive human-rights violations in the face of global inaction. The larger question is whether developed countries can live up to their so-called global leadership.”

According to the ICSC officer, “Members of the CVF expect the upcoming UN climate conference in Glasgow to come out with a climate emergency pact and a Delivery Plan to channel $500 billion over five years, without any loans, and at least half of which should go to adaptation.”

She warned that “by failing to deliver the annual $100 billion they committed, developed countries are very much a party to the gross violation of human rights among communities that are deprived of the means to transition to resilient, low carbon development rapidly.”

Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, Climate Vulnerable Forum Ambassador for Parliaments, called for a plan to deliver “$500 billion over five years” to ensure the success of the Glasgow climate talks.

“In the midst of a worsening climate crisis, it is vital to restate the reminder—winning slowly is losing, standing still is moving backwards. As we near the 26th round of climate treaty negotiations in Glasgow in November, world leaders need reminding as well that we expect action on mitigation, adaptation, finance, loss and damage, and means of implementation together. Drop one item from these five points and we court failure, which is unacceptable,” said the congresswoman.

Legarda, said, “anything less and the COP26 leadership will be inviting the toxic politics that have plagued the negotiations during the Kyoto Protocol period.”

The Manila-initiated UNHRC Resolution also paves the way for the establishment of a UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change to investigate the adverse effects of climate change on human rights, such as the right to food, to health, and to life.

Forty-six HRC countries including the Philippines voted in favor of the resolution, with Russia as the lone abstention, as the Council wrapped up its 47th regular session.

The results of the vote showed 46 countries in favor and zero against.

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