Expert: Climate crisis threatens to undo decades of development

Native American climate activists and allies march in the United States Capitol during a youth-led protest. © Allison Bailey/Reuters Connect

"The global climate crisis, the increasing number of natural disasters and new global pandemics all have the potential to undo decades of development," said Saad Alfarargi, Special Rapporteur on the right to development. "Climate change is a global human rights threat multiplier. It already impacts and will increasingly impact a wide range of internationally guaranteed human rights, including the right to development."

Alfarargi made is pronouncement while presenting his report to Member States during the Human Rights Council. His report explored the intersection of climate action and the right to development.

In his report, the Special Rapporteur stated he was convinced that none of the targets set for Sustainable Development Goal 13 – climate action – can be effectively achieved without informed and active participation of affected communities.

"The communities and populations most affected by climate change are oftentimes the ones that do not participate in decision-making processes on actions that address the consequences of climate change," Alfarargi told the Council.

He also noted that projects to reduce carbon levels and other climate actions lack adequate transparency and accountability mechanism to help people claiming to have their right violated by these projects. States and international financial institutions must do better, Alfarargi said.

In the report, Alfarargi makes several recommendations to meet the challenges of protecting the right to development while engaging in climate action. These recommendations are in key areas including: data collection and disaggregation; human rights and environmental assets; inclusion, participation and access to information.

"Countries must ensure the right to development by supporting development models that achieve a safe climate and meet the sustainable development goals, including the need to align both production and consumption patterns to sustainable and equitable levels," he said.

2 November 2021

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