A Proposal to the Secretariat


Day 11 Reflections from the United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Poznan, Poland from Dec. 1 - 12.

On December 6, Bread for the World, CARE International and Germanwatch submitted aproposaltotheSecretariatthat calls on Parties to prioritize, in the Convention's framework for long-term cooperative action, the needs and rights of people most vulnerable to climate change.
As it stands, there has been a
lot of discussion here in Poznan about prioritizing the adaptation
needs of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. This
discussion is, indeed, an important one.

Negotiations at Poznan and over the next year must, however, also address differential vulnerability within countries. They must recognize the fact that the groups or individuals most likely to be affected by the impacts of climate change will not be those with the greatest biophysical risks, but those with the greatest natural, human, social, physical, political and financial vulnerability. The adverse consequences of climate change will increasingly threaten the ability of the world's poorest people to fulfill their basic human rights, including their right to food. (For more information on this particular issue, read Germanwatch and Bread for the World's recent publication on climate change and food security).

Our submission to the Secretariat attempts to call attention to the importance of prioritizing the people – not just the countries – most vulnerable to climate change. We suggest putting a human rights framework on adaptation, and grounding that framework in existing international human rights standards and agreements, including the human right to food enshrined under the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Human Rights (ICESCR).

By taking on a rights-based approach to adaptation under the UNFCCC, we believe that Parties will be fulfilling their existing voluntary commitments to the right to food under the ICESCR. This will require national governments to systematically identify people and groups most vulnerable to climate change through vulnerability and adaptation assessments, and enable inclusive, transparent and participatory decision making at all levels with regard to adaptation planning and implementation.

Hopefully, our submission will help build momentum for rights-based adaptation in the negotiations for long-term cooperative action. It does, at the very least, give some voice to this very crucial issue.