Header image for news printout

Durban: An urgent call for ‘preventive’ international solidarity to fight climate change

“Will the inertia that has been ailing climate change negotiations finally break new ground?” she asked. “International solidarity should be preventive rather than simply reactive to the massive irreversible damage that has already been caused not only by natural disaster but as well, by man’s activities,”

“The world is calling for genuine international solidarity and multilateralism, and for its leaders to take a leap of faith in unison, and as one,” the expert said
on the eve of the 17th Conference of Parties to the UN Climate Change Convention and the 7th Conference of Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, in Durban.

For the UN Independent Expert, “there is great need for a radical mind-set change in order to bring back to the negotiating table the time-honoured values of humanity that have been forgotten after decades of market and profit driven orientation.” She stressed the imperative of revitalising the collective values built on cooperation and solidarity among nations and peoples, imbued with human rights principles, equality and justice.

“Greater cooperation and solidarity are required now more than ever before, to face the challenges posed by climate change such as the intensification and increasing frequency of natural disasters, as well as the continuing and widening poverty gap, and the series of food, energy, economic and financial global crises,” Ms. Dandan said. “Global challenges require global responses to make a difference.”

She also called upon nations who have been enriched through decades of development practices that have polluted the world, along with the “new polluters” to take the lead. In her view, negotiations should honour the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, recognising that not all countries have contributed to climate change equally.

“We are living today in a ‘Global Village’ where any event, even in the remotest part of the world, will sooner or later impact on our lives,” the expert said, reminding all the stakeholders gathering in Durban that everyone has a responsibility for the common good. “We are all accountable to each other and to the future generations.”

“The Durban negotiations are a make or break for humanity,” underscored Ms. Dandan, warning that failure in Durban would also have negative consequences on the multilateral system, and particularly to the upcoming multilateral conferences on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and on Biodiversity in 2012.

“Failure in Durban would impact on the three pillars of the UN, namely peace and security, development and human rights, and pin the world down to ground zero,” she said.

Virginia Dandan was appointed Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity in June 2011 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. She is independent from any government or organisation.

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Independent Expert, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Solidarity/Pages/IESolidarityIndex.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact: Adriano José Timossi (+41 22 928 9159 / atimossi@ohchr.org) or write to iesolidarity@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

UN Human Rights, follow us on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unitednationshumanrights
Twitter: http://twitter.com/UNrightswire
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/UNOHCHR