Video message by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
2 December 2019
Greetings to all of you, and best wishes from Costa Rica, where I am currently on an official mission.
From the North Pole to the South Pacific, climate change threatens people's livelihoods, communities, health, development – even their lives.
Nowhere is this clearer than in small island States and other members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum. The Climate Vulnerable Forum exists because of one simple truth: climate change discriminates. Those most affected by climate change already endure multiple forms of discrimination -- because of their gender; because of their economic status, because they are members of indigenous peoples or minorities; because they are migrants, or internally displaced; because of their age; or because they are people with disabilities.
Climate change discriminates on the basis of geography. Entire nations may sink beneath rising tides, while droughts, floods and worse strike others; whole ecosystems and ways of being may cease to exist. And the worst affected are always the poor.
To prevent the steadily worsening impacts of climate change, States need to strengthen their mitigation commitments and nationally determined contributions.
States must also cooperate with each other. We must reshape our global energy infrastructure, making safe, clean energy accessible to all persons. Existing State commitments require international cooperation, including financial, technological and capacity-building support, to achieve low-carbon, climate-resilient, and sustainable development, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
My Office stands ready to support States and civil society to do more to protect the rights of those most affected by the climate crisis, and to prevent the climate crisis from worsening.
Your pledge of support for the possible establishment of a Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change at the Human Rights Council is much welcomed. While the decision is ultimately up to the Council, your commitment signals the importance of climate action.
I am convinced that the presence, voice and leadership of members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum is critical to the drive for higher climate ambition and the realization of human rights for those persons most affected by climate change.
We look forward to working together with you in this effort.