In an article written for Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW), QUNO’s Representative for the Human Impacts of Climate Change Programme, Lindsey Fielder Cook, reports from the June negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She explores some of the challenges, controversies and opportunities that exist at the UNFCCC, the primary multilateral negotiating body responsible for setting the international agenda on climate action.
Climate Change and the International Negotiations
A “Quaker Statement on Climate Change,” was signed by a number of Quaker organizations and was distributed to all Yearly Meetings worldwide. The Statement recognizes the moral duty of Quakers worldwide to respond to the challenge of climate change and calls for meaningful international action on anthropogenic climate change.
“A Call to Conscience: Quaker experiences facing the challenge of Climate Change” features interviews with Quakers worldwide on why they care about climate change, and what they are doing to address the challenge locally, nationally and internationally.
QUNO Geneva has created this publication as a form of witness in facing anthropogenic climate change through love and action, rather than fear. The people portrayed span our worldwide Quaker community, from Africa to Europe, Asia Pacific to the Americas.
Minute 36 (the Canterbury Commitment) challenges Quakers to seek a sustainable, equitable and peaceful life on Earth. Britain Yearly Meeting is responding to this challenge by focusing on how to become a low-carbon sustainable community. The Quaker United Nations Office responds to the same challenge at the international level in our work on climate change, natural resource management, food and sustainability, and human rights.
This briefing paper connects the work of QUNO to the concerns and the spirit of Minute 36, describing the linkages between local, national and international levels of engagement.
This paper presents four examples of multilateral agreements that involved complex negotiations, some spanning several years, others several decades. The examples draw on international processes in environment, disarmament, human rights and trade, exploring some of the factors that led to the adoption of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1987), the Mine Ban Treaty (1997), the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (2000), and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).
Water and land are two of the key natural resources that shape billions of peoples’ livelihoods, food security, wellbeing and identity. Developing management of water, land and food that is equitable and peaceful is an increasingly challenging task due to a multitude of factors – such as resource degradation, population growth and violent conflict – that can fuel tensions and exacerbate vulnerabilities around natural resources. Increasing climate uncertainties now lend an additional urgency to the need to develop appropriate policy and practice at international, national and local levels.
The statement encourages the Independent Expert to consider the following:
- The role that peacebuilding approaches can play in fulfilling procedural rights, in order to achieve both substantive rights and effective environmental poliy, and
- How small farmers, rural communities and marginalised sections of society can effectively participate in consultation and decision-making processes that relate to their environment.
As the UNFCCC moves towards new arrangements under the Durban Platform, facilitating trust among its Parties will be vital to enabling and encouraging States to stabilise their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and prevent dangerous levels of climate change. An effective and positive monitoring system can be an important part of building mutual trust between Parties to an international Convention, increasing confidence that all Members will fulfill their obligations by providing support for implementation while also identifying areas of non-compliance. This paper is a contribution by the Quaker United Nations Office to a discussion on what effective monitoring under the UNFCCC and its Protocols might look like, offering a small sample of approaches adopted by other international bodies and discussing some of the merits of each.
Exploring the complex interlinkages between climate change, resource scarcity, violent conflict and cooperation.
QUNO Geneva's newsletter for February to April 2009. Featured stories:
- Women in Prison: New Steps and Resolutions
- Making a Difference on Global Economic Issues
- Conscientious Objection at the Human Rights Council
- New Momentum in Nuclear Disarmament