Sunday, 26 October 2008

Climate Change Threats - An NGO Framework for Action

This Declaration was issued by NGOs at the UN-DPI Conference 6 Sep 2007

We, over 1726 participants representing over 500 Non-Governmental Organisations from more than 62 countries,

  • recognising that we share one planet and its environment, as well as a responsibility to protect future generations,
  • recognising the special vulnerabilities of the indigenous, poor, coastal and rural populations,
  • having met at the 60th Annual UN Department of Public Information Conference for NGOs at UN Headquarters from 5-7 September, 2007, with representatives of Member States, UN agencies and programs, the scientific community, the private sector, media and civil society, and having reviewed the latest scientific evidence from a wide variety of experts as well as hearing about the experiences of indigenous peoples to better understand climate change, its threats and how NGOs can broaden the base for knowledge and action to reduce those threats; make the following declaration:

1. We affirm that climate change is mainly anthropogenic and is one of the most serious threats humanity and our environment have ever faced, which if not addressed will cause:

  • a. catastrophic effects to Earth’s ecosystems, biodiversity and infrastructure;
  • b. significantly reduced availability of food, water, energy and transport;
  • c. massive migration of populations and the possible destruction of entire cultures and small
  • island nations,
  • d. significant damage to our economic, political, cultural, social and spiritual structures,
  • e. increased local, national and international violence,
  • f. significant psychological and emotional distress to individuals and communities
  • g. irreversible harm to the lifestyles of indigenous peoples,
  • h. increased spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, and
  • i. negative impacts on human health and life expectancy.

2. We commit ourselves over the next 12 months to a Framework for Action that will propose NGO

solutions to these threats before they become irreversible:

  • a. unify behind a common vision of collaboration – even if we disagree on tactics -- to develop and implement plans for adaptation and mitigation* taking into account the full range of consequences;
  • b. act as vocal, active partners for change with the UN, governments at all levels, NGOs and other members of our global community;
  • c. develop, implement and publicize individual and collaborative action plans for personal, economic and political change.

* Note: Adaptation implies making lifestyle adjustments. Mitigation implies alleviating the problem.

3. We commend Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s leadership in highlighting climate change as a major priority. We urge government, industry, and UN leaders, in partnership with the NGO community to emphasise proactive climate change priorities for the greater good in preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, December, 2007, and subsequent negotiations [UNFCC, leading up to COP-17 at Copenhagen Dec 2009].

4. We strongly recommend, for the sake of future generations, that government and industry leaders, the UN, other international organizations and the whole of civil society partner behind and implement concrete solutions, taking into account recommendations that emerge from the [UNFCC] Framework for Action.

5. We also strongly recommend that:

  • a. all governments and civil society foster an ethical, moral foundation for ongoing sustainable development in our interdependent world making the well-being of all of humankind our priority.
  • b. all educational institutions and media organizations more effectively educate about the issue of climate change with special emphasis on youth,
  • c. governmental authorities consider penalties for excessive consumption and pollution as a method of financing climate change improvements, as well as financial incentives to foster climate-friendly technologies so that fossil fuel and nuclear based technologies can be phased out.
  • d. governments recognize that war is damaging to the climate.
  • e. all governments ratify UN conventions on climate change, the Kyoto protocol and other relevant climate conventions

6. Finally, in order to implement the Framework for Action – recognizing that our views on challenges

and opportunities will evolve as this process continues – we request that:

  • a. the NGO/DPI Executive Committee and the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO) foster a plan as soon as possible to implement the Framework as a tool for the NGO community to participate in an open, practical and transparent collaborative approach based on networking;
  • b. the Framework discussion culminate in an internet-based progress report to be submitted to the Secretary-General in one year and that a long-term dialogue for future action be fostered thereafter;
  • c. the Framework process should network NGO’s that might not otherwise typically collaborate by bridging the spectrum of NGO concerns interconnected by climate change, such as sustainable development, agriculture, forestry, the specific situation of Indigenous Peoples, biodiversity, livestock and animal welfare, nuclear proliferation, the end of war, justice, ethnic groups, multigenerational issues, youth, gender equality,
  • education, poverty, food and water security, culture of peace, interfaith cooperation, national global security and economic justice, as well as mental, spiritual and physical health.

No comments: