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Posts Tagged ‘UNFCCC’

Community Leaders Meet to Discuss Relocation in the Face of Climate Change

September 11, 2012 Leave a comment

By Alyssa Johl and John Crump*

Alaska PNG

Two different parts of the world, one common problem

This week, community leaders from two small villages in very different parts of the world will meet on Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to discuss a common problem:  their need to relocate as a result of climate change.  The communities of Newtok, Alaska, and the Carteret Islands, Papua New Guinea, are among the first in the world to choose relocation as the best means of adapting to the effects of a changing climate and ensuring their cultural survival. Read more…

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What’s at stake at Durban? We are.

November 23, 2011 1 comment

By Kristen Hite, Interim Director, Climate Change Program

In recent years we’ve seen global predictions on climate change becoming increasingly dire.  In recent weeks it’s gone from bad to worse:  The International Energy Association, often criticized for how its future projections of energy production rely too heavily on fossil fuels and nuclear energy just issued a report that says our current energy patterns will lead us to a global rise in temperature of 4 degrees Celsius or worse, leading to “irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change.”  This comes on the heels of a new analysis by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which tells us that impacts are worse than expected and that climate change is increasingly responsible for natural disaster damages to the tune of billions of dollars annually.  Put simply: we can’t avoid climate impacts—we’re already experiencing them and they are getting worse.  But we can avoid locking in an unsustainable future that guarantees widespread destruction to communities and ecosystems across the globe—that is, if diplomats representing 190+ countries agree on how to act. Read more…

The “New Normal”: Food in the 21st Century

August 4, 2011 Leave a comment

By Baskut Tuncak

The global food system is broken.  Worldwide, 925 million are undernourished.  The Asia-Pacific region ranks highest in terms of number of people that are hungry and sub-Saharan Africa leads on a percentage basis.  In Niger, for example, one in two children suffers from malnutrition and one in six dies before the age of five.  In July of 2011, the UN declared Somalia’s food crisis a famine, triggered by the country’s worst drought in 60 years, killing tens of thousands of Somalis from malnutrition-related causes and forcing mass exodus to neighboring Kenya.  Aid agencies estimate that 3.7 million people in Somalia and millions more in neighboring Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya are close to starvation.

Read more…

Glacial Progress at June Climate Talks in Bonn: Public Frozen Out

June 29, 2011 1 comment

By the CIEL Climate Team

Despite growing evidence that the effects of climate change are occurring earlier and more dramatically than foreseen just a few years ago, the UNFCCC negotiations continue to demonstrate how difficult it is to reach agreement on a broad-based binding framework for collective international action on climate change.  The two weeks of negotiations (June 6-17) in Bonn got off to a rocky start with agenda disputes holding up progress for several days.  Read more…

What’s hot in climate change

June 6, 2011 Leave a comment

By the CIEL Climate Team

Climate negotiations resume in Bonn, Germany this week with a full agenda and against a backdrop of reports that last year’s global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were at record levels despite the global economic downturn.  While the meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Cancun, Mexico last December failed to resolve a number of fundamental outstanding issues (such as the inadequacy of GHG reduction targets Parties have put forward and the ultimate legal form the negotiations will take), Parties will be busy this week and next elaborating a number of fundamental building blocks of the climate regime that were agreed in Cancun.  A quick overview of the issues CIEL is actively working on this week and next in Bonn follows. Read more…

Columbian IP Agreement continues to Raise Human Rights Concerns

May 27, 2010 Leave a comment

FlagDuring Columbia’s periodic review by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, specifically the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, several recommendations were made relating to intellectual property (IP) rights. 

The official UN report can be found here and CIEL’s publications relating to Trade Agreements and IP can be accessed here.

With respect to Access to Medicines, examining the US-Columbia Free Trade Agreement, the Committee noted that: 

The Committee is also concerned that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between the State party and the United States contains provisions on intellectual property that may result in increase of prices of medicines and negatively impact on the enjoyment of the right to health, in particular of those with low income (arts. 1, 12).

…In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party consider revising the intellectual property provisions of the Free Trade Agreement signed with the United States, in order to ensure protection against the increase of the price of medicines, in particular for those with low income.  (para. 10)

With respect to development projects, including those that would be under the ambit of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, the Committee noted:

The Committee recommends that the State party take concrete measures to review the processes concerning infrastructure, development and mining projects and fully implement decisions of the Constitutional Court in this regard. The Committee also recommends that the State party review the Presidential Directive 001 and the draft bill elaborated by the Working Party on Prior Consultation of the Ministry of the Interior. The Committee further recommends that the State party adopt legislation in consultation with and the participation of indigenous and afro-colombian people, that clearly establishes the right to free, prior and informed consent in conformity with ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, as well as the relevant decisions of the Constitutional Court.  (para. 9)

On Biofuels, the committee notes that:

The Committee is concerned that the policy encouraging agro-exporting goods, such as agro-fuels, may deprive peasants from cultivating their lands. The Committee is also concerned about the unequal distribution of lands owned by a minority of the population, as well as about the absence of a genuine agrarian reform, as recommended in the previous concluding observations of the Committee (art. 11).

The Committee recommends that the State party develop agricultural policies which prioritize the production of food; implement programs that protect national food production with incentives for small producers; and ensure the restitution of lands taken from indigenous and afro-colombian peoples, as well as peasant communities.   (para. 22)

Regarding Access to Knowledge and Education:

The Committee recommends that the State party take immediate measures to ensure access of all children without discrimination, to free and compulsory primary education.  (para. 29)

In addition to these recommendations by the Committee, on GMOs the Seeds Group presented its report on Genetically Modified Organisms and the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Columbia.  The report states: 

The policies and practices of the Colombian State concerning genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have violated, and threaten to continue violating, the rights of indigenous peoples in Colombia, including their rights to self-determination, prior consultation, participation, property, culture, food, heath, and a healthy environment.

In 2005, the Colombian State issued a decree that regulates the approval of GMOs. Though indigenous peoples will be affected by the release of genetically modified (GM) seeds, they were not consulted before the approval of this decree; nor does the decree provide for any consultation during the approval process for each seed. Under this decree, the processes by which certain GM seeds have been approved have violated the Colombian State’s obligation to apply the precautionary principle, and have not taken into account scientific studies that have demonstrated the threat that GM seeds pose to native seeds, human health, and the environment.

The next periodic report of Columbia is due to be submitted by July 2015.

Human Rights, Technology Transfer & Climate Change

May 18, 2010 Leave a comment

On the margins of the WIPO Committee on Development and IP (CDIP), CIEL organized a series of presentations and commentary on the topic of Human Rights and Technology Transfer, in the context of climate change.  Information on what agreements were reached in the CDIP can be found on the CIEL IP Quarterly Update, Second Quarter of 2010.

The speakers included:

  • Mr. Robert Archer, Executive Director of the International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP)
  • Mr. Michael Waibel, Post-doctoral researcher at Cambridge University
  • Mr. Baskut Tuncak, Law Fellow, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
  • Ms. Caroline Dommen, Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO)
  • Mr. Subhas Gujadhur, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Mauritius to Geneva

Mr. Archer began the event with a summary of the Human Rights dimension of climate change, based in part on their earlier publication “Climate Change and Human Rights: A Rough Guide.”

Mr. Waibel followed with an overview of Technology Transfer in the International Agreements on intellectual property and environmental protection.  His presentation can be viewed here.

Mr. Tuncak then spoke of how and to what benefit human rights obligations can inform discussions on technology transfer.

Finally. Ms. Dommen and Mr. Gujadhur provided their perspective on the preceding presentations.

For further information, please see IP Watch’s coverage here and/or contact Baskut Tuncak at btuncak [at] ciel [dot] org