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[Official Letter from FoE]to the UNFCCC, 15 August 2011

Submission in response to the invitation by the SBI to submit further views on thematic areas to be addressed in the implementation of the work programme on loss and damage.

Submitted by Friends of the Earth International, accredited observer organisation to the UNFCCC, 15 August 2011

We wish to highlight the following points:

1.       We are pleased that one of the elements that has been put forward as a guiding principle of the work programme is a focus on the particularly vulnerable. In this context, stakeholders in the agricultural sector such as smallholders, pastoralists, fishermen and forest dependant people[1] and other vulnerable groups that are traditionally underrepresented owing to factors such as geographical location, minority status and disability, including indigenous people in developing countries, the poor, women and children[2] are specifically mentioned. We would highlight that elderly people are also a vulnerable group in this context. We presume that the stakeholders referred to here are included in the reference to “intended beneficiaries”[3] and emphasise the importance of consultation with them on the matters addressed by the work programme. Implementation measures must be designed locally in a participatory process that includes these particularly vulnerable groups.


2.       We are also pleased to see reference to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and note that the duty of states to cooperate with one another to achieve respect for human rights also requires that states share the burden of mitigation and adaptation. We propose that international human rights bodies, such as the UN Human Rights Council the International Organisation for Migration and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees should also be included in the list of stakeholders to be engaged[4].


3.       Several human rights council special procedure mandate holders have considered climate change in a manner that is relevant to this work programme, for example the Special Rapporteurs on the right to adequate housing and food[5]. National and international displacement and relocation is another important theme that must be given due attention within the work programme. It has been estimated that as a result of climate change 50-250 million people may be forced to relocate by the middle of the century on a permanent or temporary basis and this is a matter to be recognised and addressed within the work programme[6].


4.       Similarly, any regulatory or institutional framework for risk management (as referred to in 63a of the synthesis report) must incorporate human rights considerations.


5.       We note that there are references to a climate risk insurance facility but are of the view that there is a need for a mechanism that considers issues of loss and damage more broadly. The parties must ensure that the design, implementation and monitoring of any mechanisms are carried out in a way that furthers the implementation of States’ obligations to respect and protect human rights, including the rights of access to information, public participation and access to justice. The mechanism should provide opportunities by which non-Parties and in particular affected stakeholders can submit relevant information including the impacts of climate-related natural disasters and slow onset changes and damage they have suffered.


6.       Civil society should continue to be actively engaged in all relevant stages of the work programme and subsequent negotiations on the development, implementation and monitoring of proposed loss and damage mechanisms.


7.       We consider that an expert meeting of the kind set out in paragraph 6 of decision FCCC/SBI/2011/L.20 would be useful and that representatives from the UN Human Rights Council, UNHCR and IOM should be invited to attend.

[1] 18 a (iii)

[2] 18 (a) (iv)

[3] Para 45 “engagement of stakeholders section.”

[4] A current list of of stakeholders considered to have relevant specialised expertise is set out in paragraph 43.

[5] See Oliver de Schutter “Climate Change and the Right to food, a comprehensive study” published by the Heinrich Boll foundation in 2009 and the report by Rachel Rolnik, Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing on her visit to the Maldives (UN Doc A/HRC/13/20/Add.3)

[6] Walter Kalin, former representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons (UNDoc.A/HRC/13/21)



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