Posted by: lauraannwilson | March 7, 2015

LIVE BLOG – Human Rights Council 28th Session 2 – 30 March 2015 6 March 2015 Session 3: 3pm – 6pm: The adverse impacts of climate change on States’ efforts progressively to realize the right to food, and policies, lessons learned and good practices

UN Office Geneva in Snow

Human Rights Council 28th Session 2 – 30 March 2015
6 March 2015
Session 3: 3pm – 6pm: The adverse impacts of climate change on States’ efforts progressively to realize the right to food, and policies, lessons learned and good practices

Chair: H.E. Mr. Joachim Ruecker, President of the Human Rights Council

Video message: Ms. Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the right to food
Elver stated that the link between climate change and the right to food is ‘complicated’. She stated that despite the fact that in some areas there is a surplus in food, many people are starving. For example, there is less food available in Africa and Asia. She stated that the scarcity of food in these regions was due to poor unsustainable growing practices. She reiterated that a human rights approach to climate change was needed. She expressed the hope that the human rights approach would be incorporated into the Paris document.

Moderator: Mr. John Knox, Independent Expert on the issue of human rights
obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment
Knox stated that climate change posed a grave threat to human rights, in particular the rights of indigenous people. He stated that the states that had taken the Geneva pledge had made a strong commitment to tackle climate change. He stated that there is a stronger understanding of the relationship between human rights and climate change and the importance of acting on this urgently.


H.E. Mr. Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu
Prime Minister attached strong importance to the HRC session on climate change. He stated that there is a strong consensus for a need for action; however, the question is: what was the appropriate form of action? He stated that the HRC must take ‘appropriate action through clear and clarified mechanisms…and take this further by concrete actions on the ground’. Having regard to food security, he stated that unless we had sustainable development, it was futile to discuss climate change. He stated that the world needed a ‘human response to climate change’. He reiterated that people must be able to fulfil their traditional practices and also have ESCR rights recognised. He started that there had been remarks about countries disappearing. However this is irrelevant at this time because the real issue is the sovereign rights.

Prime Minister stated that climate change can be addressed through the UN HRC and the OHCHR. He stated that it was crucial that a binding agreement be reached in Paris in 2015. He stated that this agreement must include legal remedies.

Prime Minister stated that the HCR must consider establishing a mechanism to respond to the impact of climate change and that a special session of the HRC was needed in this regard. He reiterated that a special session of the HRC on climate change and human rights is timely. He stated that there is a justice and human rights issue that the world faced. He reiterated that the situation in Tuvalu was dire and the world must act now.

Mr. Renan B. Dalisay, Administrator, National Food Authority, Philippines
Dalisay stated that the impact of climate change was prevalent in the Philippines, as evident in recent typhoon Yolanda. He cited research findings that demonstrated that climate change had led to increased typhoons. He raised the question – what is the best way forward to tackle climate change? The Philippines had launched new initiatives to tackle climate change in its region. It was working towards capacity building, financing infrastructure and other efforts to recognise the right to food and address climate change. He stated that the climate change debate had become heavily politicised. He stated that the world must work together on measures to tackle climate change.

Ms. Xiangjun Yao, Director, Geneva Office, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Ms Yao stated that China was in a region where food prices are rising and access to food was a challenge for many people. She stated that a stronger focused on education on nutrition was needed. Ms Yao stated that support for household farmers and small food producers were needed. She stated that a future focus on climate change, grounded in a human rights perspective, was needed. She reiterated that a collaborative approach to the post 2015 development agenda and the Paris discussions was required. She stressed that an inclusive approach was required as to allow communities to be engaged in finding solutions to climate change and its impact on food security.

Mr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches
Mr Olv stated that we are all accountable for humanity and that ‘we need to be sensitive to what the most vulnerable communities are expressing’. He reiterated the importance of food security, sanitation and human rights. He stated that these are ‘basic issues of justice and also of our faith’. He stated that climate change has ethical and spiritual dimensions, as well as political and human dimensions. He stated that effective approaches to tackling climate change must respond to each of these elements. He stated that the world would benefit from actively working together in ‘one humanity’.

Ms. Elizabeth Mpofu, General Coordinator, La Via Campesina
Ms Mpofu highlighted her displeasure with being allocated 5 minutes to discus the impact of climate change. She stated that she was representing millions of poor people who have no access to basic food and sanitation. She stated that millions of people are being moved from their traditional lands to make way for multinational corporations.

Ms. Ana-Maria Suarez Franco, Permanent Representative in Geneva, Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN) International
Franco recognised that some states are acting to ensure that people had access to food. However, climate change was adversely impacting on these efforts. Climate change was affecting the quality and quantity of food. She stated that the impact of measures to tackle poverty and food insecurity is deeply impacted by climate change. States must work towards meeting their obligations to ensure food security. States must use political influence to tackle climate change. She stated that states must act urgently to tackle greenhouse gas emissions must be addressed and increased production of food was urgently needed. She reiterated that states must guarantee that all mechanisms used must be in line with a human rights perspective.

Interventions from the floor:

European Union
Speaker noted that the right to food is impacted negatively by climate change. Speaker noted that there was an urgent need to build food security mechanisms. She highlighted that the worlds’ women and children are most at risk of inadequate nutrition. She requested that the panellists recommend how the world can ensure that the worlds’ most vulnerable people have their right to food recognised.

Speaker stated that climate change had grossly impacted on food security. She highlighted that climate change must be urgently addressed by all states and states must recognised a shared responsibility. She raised concerns of countries attempting to ‘wriggle out’ of their responsibilities.

Speaker stated that that country imports almost all its food stocks, aside from tune. However, climate change was affecting tuna and other fish stocks. She stated that the island community had limited capacity to grow food. She noted that nearly 1/3 of the capital had no running or drinking water due to failure of the de-salination plant.

Brazil stated that successful negotiation is needed to ensure the right to food. Speaker stated that the world should co-operate to develop technologies to address climate change. Brazil recognised the rights of indigenous people must be upheld in the efforts to tackle climate change.

Speaker stated that coastal communities faced many issues including rising sea levels. These issues directly impacted on the right to food. She asked what steps can Fiji and the Pacific governments take to address climate change?

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