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“Climate change is real and its adverse effects will lead to different forms of human mobility, but it does does not necessarily have to be a crisis ”, said Atle Solberg, Head of the Secretariat of the Platform on Disaster Displacement, speaking about the need for scaled-up climate action, better planning, and consultation with affected communities at the plenary session of the Geneva Human Rights and Climate Change Dialogues on 5 November 2019.
The Geneva Dialogues brought together experts, researchers, policymakers, and international agencies to discuss the relevance of a rights-based approach to climate change, climate action and human mobility. Beginning with two expert roundtables, one on land and the other on human mobility, the dialogues went on to address specific policy issues, closing with a panel discussion on how the outcomes of the roundtables could contribute to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) set to take place in Madrid next month (COP25).
The first expert discussion – on human rights, climate change, and land – raised important issues of land rights in the context of climate change, highlighting the need for structural solutions, the rights of rural women and indigenous peoples, and issues of industrial forest plantations. The second expert discussion – on human rights, climate change, and human mobility – stressed upon the importance of recognizing climate change as an emergency facing the world and as a driver of displacement, recognizing and addressing the complexity of the issue, and involving the voices of indigenous peoples and the most vulnerable and affected groups in the first instance. The discussion surrounded issues of displacement and migration in the context of slow-onset and extreme weather events, planned relocation, cultural rights of the displaced and urban displacement.
The closing plenary brought together the discussions on land and human mobility, and explored how the dialogues that took place over the day could contribute to COP25 in concrete terms. The event was enhanced by the presence of the Ambassador of Chile speaking on behalf of the COP25 Presidency.
The Dialogues were organized by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), in partnership with the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), EarthJustice, the Geneva Environment Network, and FIAN International, with the generous support of the government of Luxemburg, at the Palais de Nations, Geneva.