Following the unanimous decision to recognise the right to a healthy environment in 2021, Ian Fry, a professor at the Australian National University and a former ambassador for Tuvalu for over 21 years, was named by the UN Human Rights Council as the first Special Rapporteur on climate change in May.
We know that there are important issues related to climate change affecting women and young people, and these issues need to be added to the schedule and action plan to address them.
I’m trying to make the case that parties should ask the UN Secretary-General to organize a special summit on raising emission reduction commitments for the following year.
NEWS Have any adjustments been made by nations since the Right to a Healthy Environment was proclaimed a Universal Human Right? I believe governments are considering how they can put that resolution into practice.
I know that the European Union is talking about how to put that resolution into their national laws and constitutions.
In May, the UN Human Rights Council named Ian Fry, a professor at the Australian National University and former ambassador for Tuvalu for more than 21 years, as the first Special Rapporteur on climate change. This was after everyone agreed that everyone has the right to a healthy environment by 2021.
The expert told the delegates that “human-caused climate change is the biggest, most pervasive threat to the world’s natural environment and cultures that it has ever seen, and the poorest countries are paying the highest price.”
Mr. Fry pointed out the “enormous injustice” that rich countries and big companies are doing by not doing much to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and letting down the most vulnerable and poor people.
He said that “the G20 countries, for example, are responsible for 78% of emissions in the last ten years.”
Before giving his report, the Special Rapporteur talked to UN News about three things: actions to reduce climate change, loss, and damage; access and inclusion; and protecting people who fight for climate rights.
He talked about what he thought would happen at Egypt’s upcoming UN Climate Conference (COP27). He also talked about some of the problems with taking action on climate change because of the war in Ukraine. He also talked about some advice he gave member states, such as calling for a high-level forum to be held the following year.
U.N. NEWS Members of the UN signed a declaration during the most recent climate conference, which took place in Glasgow in 2021, concluding talks on the remaining aspects of the Paris Agreement. What topics do you anticipate nations will discuss at the upcoming COP in Egypt?
A variety of topics are currently on the table. We are getting ready for the “Global Stocktake,” or evaluation of the Paris Agreement’s implementation, which will take place in 2023. Therefore, developing this review process involves processes.
I believe the dispute over loss and damage will be a critical issue. Some powerful nations have resisted moving the matter forward. Still, developing countries have all stated, “We want loss and damage on the agenda,” and civil society is saying the same thing.
UN NEWS: And what problems does the loss and damage problem present?
Well, some of the more industrialized nations are concerned about it and are considering this problem from the viewpoint of who should pay for pollution. The countries that are currently paying most of the costs of climate change should pay for them themselves.
I just visited Bangladesh and experienced the effects of climate change firsthand. Furthermore, it is unfair that developing nations like Bangladesh must bear the costs of global warming; that is not their fault. So, even though they emit the least, the most vulnerable countries are hit the hardest by climate change.
Therefore, it’s time for the large nations, the biggest emitters, to declare that “we have to do something; we have to contribute to these vulnerable countries.”