Side event at the Climate Change COP 15, Copenhagen, Denmark, 15th December 09, 13- 14:30
Background and rationale:
The impacts of climate change are already evident in several regions of the world, affecting the daily lives of people everywhere in terms of employment and livelihoods, health, gender equity, increasing vulnerabilities and sustainable development.
Climate impacts have shown to hit the developing world’s poor the hardest partly because they are more likely to be dependent on the very resources impacted and partly because they have far lesser capacity to protect themselves. In fact, these impacts threaten to undo the hard fought achievements made towards the MDGs now and in the future. Despite this, climate change presents opportunities to achieve a more climate-resilient development future. On the other hand, policies and measures needed to address these impacts and to reduce the amount of emissions will profoundly affect in different directions the life of people of countries around the world.
However, while the Climate Convention and the Kyoto Protocol recognizes the climate-human development linkages, and have several references to the anticipated socio-economic impacts of climate change, yet up to now these aspects of the agreements have not been fully developed and therefore there is still a need to fully understand and agree on the meaning of these social aspects.
Objective of the side event:
The objective of the event is to highlight the multidimensional nature of climate change, far beyond the environmental impacts, in particular on the well-being of people, particularly the poor and the vulnerable.
A background paper gathering the main information of the climate change impacts on development, health, employment, gender, children protection of the most vulnerable as well as suggestions to assure that climate change-related policies and measures properly address these issues will be presented and discussed during the side event.
- 5´ (ILO) Welcome and introduction. Peter Poschen (Director of Enterprise Department)
- 10´(UNDP) MDGs and Human Development: Anne Marie Sloth Carslen, Climate Change Advisor, Environment and Energy Group. The presentation will set the overall framework for the session by describing the climatic changes and the transmission mechanisms that ultimately link to human development and poverty reduction. By doing this, links to employment and livelihoods, health, gender and security will become evident. The climate-development linkages will require rethinking the way countries design and implement national strategies that integrate climate change with human development, protect the poor and vulnerable (climate proofing, social protection), enable households and communities to build assets and resilience (through investments in health, education, employment, technologies), and be in a better position to adapt to (significantly) different future conditions.
- 10´(ILO) Employment: Sachiko Yamamoto, Regional Director of Asia and the Pacific Region. Climate change itself and policies to reduce GHG emissions will have profound impacts on economies and production and consumption patters and therefore on workers and companies. Policies and measures to address climate change can be designed and implemented to tackle not only climate change but also poverty, unemployment and inequality.
- In this framework, social protection programmes and safety nets can play a significant role to assist workers and their families to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This need has been recognized by the UN-CEB (Chief Executive Board) on its call for a Social Protection Floor.
- 10´(WHO) Health: Dr. Maria Neira, Director of Public Health and Environmental Department: Global climate change will affect living and working environments, and create health threats for millions of people. Climate related disasters result in over 60 000 deaths each year, mainly in developing countries. Malaria, diarrhoea and malnutrition kill millions of people every year, most of them children. Moreover, the increasing heat exposure due to local climate changes is likely to create occupational health risks and to have a significant impact on the productivity of many workers. Without effective action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, the burden of these conditions will be greater, and they will be more difficult and more costly to control.
- Wider coverage of proven, effective health interventions should be promoted to protect populations from much of the damaging effect of climate change.
- 10´(UNIFEM) Gender: UNIFEM Presentation will be study on indigenous women and climate change by Anne Stenhammer Regional Programme Director, South Asia Sub Regional Office. The study assesses the gendered impact of climate change in indigenous societies in Asia with a particular focus on Adivasi women. Based on autonomous adaptation strategies, recommendations are made for policy effectiveness towards enhancing women’s agency and resiliency.
- 10´(UNICEF) Impacts on Children: Michele Ferenz, Senior Adviser, Governance, UN and Multilateral Affairs: Children are one of the social groups whose lives are being affected by climate change effects. They, who have contributed the least to climate change, are disproportionately affected by its impacts. Children are already seeing the impacts of climate change through malnutrition, disease, poverty, inequality and increasing risk of conflict – and ultimately an increase in child mortality rates. Moreover, their education, health and shelter are many times at risk in the current changing environment. Therefore, climate change policies should have a particular focus on them.