CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 October 2018

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Marrakesh ignores human rights at climate meeting

ROME (SE): A report released by Caritas describes the messages sent out by the various states represented at the Conference of Parties (COP) 22 held in Marrakesh in Morocco from November 7 to 18 as positive, but weak.

The Caritas report, which was released on November 22, says that the biggest disappointment is human rights continue to be sidelined, especially the rights of indigenous people, women, children and vulnerable communities.

“Climate change is causing increased displacement of people and threats to the existence of some countries and cultures, as denounced by vulnerable country groups, like the Alliance of Small Island States,” Caritas points out.

“Specific protection for climate-displaced people was called for by civil society. Caritas urges future United Nations climate conferences to allow wider participation by civil society organisations to protect the principles of participation and access to information they intend to defend,” the report states.

Nevertheless, the report maintains that while the signs of a firm commitment to tackle climate change coming out of the conference for more action are encouraging, more clarification is needed on key issues over the next two years to ensure the Paris Agreement really delivers for the poor.

Caritas cited the Nationally Determined Contributions, the instruments for countries to establish their mitigation and adaptation programmes to close the greenhouse gas emission gap between current trends and the below 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature rise ceiling as a long term goal, as the main areas that were left a bit too vague.

“In Marrakesh, states were divided over differentiated responsibilities for developed and developing countries in tackling climate change. It is essential that developing countries’ need for support and capacity building is translated into concrete action,” the report says.

The secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, Michel Roy, explained, “The early ratification of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius showed a real international commitment. But COP22 mostly concerned itself with technical discussions and didn’t help to overcome the political divides between major countries.”

He added, “All talk and not much action in general is significantly hampering the progress made in Paris and is a major barrier towards urgently delivering on the commitments made.”

Caritas considers the inability to properly address agriculture and food security in climate negotiations unacceptable. After years of talks, no common approach exists to ensure vulnerable and hungry people are protected from the effects of global warming.

Caritas believes that scaled-up climate finance for developing nations is essential to ensure the implementation of the Paris Agreement and help vulnerable countries cope with climate change.

It notes that the submission of the US$100 billion ($775 billion) roadmap by developed countries has made steps in the right direction, but more clarity is still needed on finance monitoring and reporting.

“The real priority for climate negotiations from now on is to address the gap in adaptation finance and ensure that climate finance is directed to those who need it most. Greater priority should be given to community-led climate adaptation programmes that target the most vulnerable,” the report states.

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