During the 51st regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE), China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO), and Geneva Agape Foundation jointly held the side event on "Threats Climate Change Poses to Human Rights to Food, Water, and Development" at Palais des Nations in Geneva on September 14th. Representatives of Chinese and foreign non-governmental organizations, think tanks, experts, and scholars attended the event.
Zhu Jingfang, a researcher at CNIE, said that the adverse impacts of climate change have become apparent on a global scale in recent years. Zhu said that the international community needs to prioritize how to better protect vulnerable and marginalized groups against the background of frequent extreme weather and natural disasters.
The impact of extreme weather events is becoming increasingly evident at present, says Zhang Qiang, the director of the Risk Governance Innovation Research Center of Beijing Normal University. He said that rural areas need to strengthen resilience in the long term, taking into consideration risk identification, economic development, infrastructure construction, social development, and emergency management in a well-coordinated way to innovate practices based on multi-agent collaboration.
According to Zhang Qianhui, a representative of CANGO, young people are the main force in addressing climate change. CANGO launched the China Climate Change Education Program in 2012, actively promoting the inclusion of climate change into the national education system, in order to raise the awareness of climate change among teachers and students, and bring families and communities together to engage in climate actions.
The representative of Beijing Fuqun Social Service Center (Future Generations China) introduced the practices of ecological conservation and sustainable development carried out by China's civil organizations in the Sanjiangyuan region of Qinghai province. The organizations actively cooperated with local communities to explore a new model of harmonious development between man and nature, truly achieving both ecological protection and community development.
Dr. Christoph Stückelberger, the executive director of Geneva Agape Foundation, said that rights to food, water, and development are prerequisites of human survival and development. He advocated that the United Nations Human Rights Council should pay more attention to the needs of developing countries, further secure their rights to food, water, and development, and avoid politicizing human rights.
Having access to clean drinking water is a basic human right, said Dr. Benoit Girardin, a professor of water ethics from Switzerland. Climate change warns that natural resources are not inexhaustible. Hence, the ethical principles of justice, equity, responsibility, solidarity, and sustainability should be followed in all aspects of water utilization.
Njeru, the CEO of the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships, said that climate change will put people in vulnerable situations at greater risk, especially increasing the risk of HIV infection among poor people in African countries. He thus hoped that the international community could pay more attention to Africa and better ensure the development rights of African people.