Human Rights Acting as Climate Change Policy Compass

281123380_1598c90b08 This is another of those studies that, though perfectly necessary, pretty much just get categorized in to the “Well… duh!” category of my reporting. Sadly, just because something can be so categorized, doesn’t mean it was unnecessary. Too often humanity will overlook the blatantly obvious until it is thrust directly in front of their faces.

In a report (pdf) compiled by the International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP) entitled ‘Climate Change and Human Rights: A Rough Guide’, the authors argue that human rights have the ability to act as a compass to determine what research must be done and what policies must be implemented, as a result of climate change.

“Human rights are a helpful tool for asking who’ll be affected by climate change or climate change policies in a particular way, based on a set of well-defined, internationally recognized criteria,” says Robert Archer, executive director of ICHRP.

A prime example is to look at the growing lack of water in Africa. It won’t come as a massive shock that Africa is a land bereft of mass wealth and prosperity. But the ever continuing need for water belies the fact that there is less and less water in the area. Why is this? What must be done? These are questions that spawn from the humanitarian angle, but are the result of scientific issues.

“On the science side we have a baseline level of data even in poor countries, but on the social side we’re starting from zero.”

Another humanitarian angle that mustn’t be overlooked is the effect that adaptation and mitigation policies will have on various peoples. “[Programs] could generate secondary impacts which could harm people and impede human rights. A program that might globally benefit society might harm the wellbeing of minorities or groups of people living in particular circumstances,” says Archer.

If it needed a slogan, I would pitch this for the ever worsening state of our planets climate;

Climate Change: it’s not just affecting you ya wealthy bastard!


credit: angela7dreams at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

3 thoughts on “Human Rights Acting as Climate Change Policy Compass”

  1. Hey – it’s great to see that situation getting coverage in the blogosphere.

    Last summer Nelson Mandela brought a group of really dedicated individuals together – ex heads of state and Nobel laureates – to work on solving global issues. His hope for the new group, The Elders, is for them to “speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken”. They’re working on climate change’s effect on human rights now, and they want your help.

    There are so many issues in dire need of attention right now, but human rights ties them all together. The Elders launched the Every Human Has Rights campaign to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and celebrate human rights as that common thread that weaves our struggles and our victories together.

    We’re asking the blogosphere to take part. Would you be willing to add a link from your page to the Every Human Has Rights website? We also have badges and flash widgets so bloggers can show support for the campaign.

    We’re trying to get as many people as possible to sign a personal pledge to uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration. We have action partners to help people get more involved. We have tools so people can bring the ‘rights perspective’ to their own organization’s events. We’re doing everything we can to bring people together to stand up for human rights.

    We need bloggers. We need you. Please join our effort.

    All the best,
    Carly Scott
    Every Human Has Rights,
    campaign team

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