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ngo action day against climate change

70 representatives of NGOs from 26 different countries, which implement diverse actions on Climate Change, and in official relations with UNESCO, are networking to find common and global positions and commitments towards climate change.

The common vision is that necessary change will not come unless actions are based on solidarity, on common understanding and commitment, and involving all stakeholders: bottom-up, and top down actions; based on equal and just relationships in terms of social, cultural, regional, and gender rights.

We address all stakeholders involved in the COP21 process, and we underline the work of NGO's and citizens in this movement towards global solutions and a balanced a sustainable relationship with our environment.

Regarding the global thematics that are going to be discussed in the COP21 meetings:

Theme 1: Biodiversity

Starting from a very broad notion of biodiversity, encompassing features such as ecological (flora and fauna, wildlife), cultural and traditional goods. We observe main contradictions and challenges in global tendencies of mass consumption, development (we also utilize and waste considerable resources) and accelerating urbanization and conscious of biodiversity.

Biodiversity should be considered as an overarching goal of humanity, as present techniques question the possibility of re-creating all natural resources. Which is a question constantly discussed, for which we do not have a concrete answer yet. Animal species, wildlife, resources, minerals, crops, languages, traditions and habits are distinct forever, diversity is decreasing.

Humans are overwhelmed to imagine the impact of a loss of biodiversity and therefore lack conscious and awareness for action.

We face global inequality and lack of empathy which creates a common threat to nature, wildlife and humanity. In absolute terms the present strategies and values seem to be incapable of addressing the issue in a sufficient manner, we need to create a new model, based on solidarity, mutual social responsibility to protect our planet.

Actions (to be taken, called upon):
  • We ask the political stakeholders for more cooperation on common struggles about biodiversity.
  • Young people and local communities are the main actors in our efforts as IVS organisations. We ask support to build up capacity and expertise, including techniques for preserving and sharing knowledge and skill.
  • We are conscious of actions needed but we need to create more supportive and favorable conditions to maintain and exchange professional expertise
  • Create awareness of the value of local knowledge and skills as complementary to the mainstream scientific curriculum. We are aware supporting or suppressing diversity is easily used as political slogan. Advocacy campaign by IVS organisations demanding more coherence of governmental measures to be consistent with the measurements taken by the IVS sector.
Biodiversity needs to be recognized as a global heritage, with measurements to protect it and hold stakeholders responsible if they delay or lack implementation.

Theme 2: Human Security

Education that empowers and raises awareness is a crucial issue in both aspects, formal and informal. The respect of local populations, cultures and nature leads to decisions based on sustainability and balance between conservation of nature and development. It implies that people needs are more important than business profits.

Solidarity is an urgent and inevitable requirement to struggle against climate change. Everyone has to or will have to face those changes. (maybe we should mention policy first?) Companies and countries which cause catastrophes should be responsible for the consequences and provide technology, infrastructure and exchange knowledge with countries that suffer from their actions. Problems linked to climate change are universal and concern everyone, not only one country or region. The solution lies in the participation of civil society in decision making. Leaders must provide them with the resources to implement local projects that would be a basis for a real change in the sustainability of the environment.

The cooperation of governments on both national and regional levels with international and local NGOs can help to secure the human well-being.

Theme 3: Energy Transition

Energy transition deals with both production and consumption. When it comes to savings (non-consumption), different levels have to be tackled such as individual, industry and mobility levels as well as housing, being a big consumer of energy nowadays.

Cross-sectional education on energies needs to be promoted as such. Resulting transparency should be maintained and improved through lifelong learning processes.

The research on innovative technologies enables substitutes and alternatives, storage improvement and technical standards in order to increase the efficiency of consumption and production on local and global level. The transfer and implementation of new technologies should be recognized as future investments.

In order to take a good decision on old and new sources of energy transparency of costs (need to be explained in a clearer way) needs to be promoted by the social and political system. Energy transition may be supported by an incentive fiscal system. Local communities have to be empowered to implement and supervise new energy policies.

Theme 4: Legal mechanisms and new international law.

The following actions are needed:

1) To agree on an international treaty which will set up global common goals to keep the climate’s temperature below 2° Celsius. The document will include each country’s commitments, based on a proportionate, fair, and objective criteria.

2) The treaty will contain a full panel of control mechanisms to ensure the respect of the commitments, such as an annual report, a review, rewards or financial penalties, and other forms of sanctions, together with empowerment of a UN global structure. The civil society should have a recognized role in proposing measures and in informing about the progress made, both at the national and the international levels.

3) States will cooperate in good faith in respecting the global common goals. They will promote transparency, education, local, and market initiatives within their territory. The historical and main polluters (to be rephrased) should help the emerging countries for the adaptation to new standards and policies. (The main sources of pollution has obligation to help the victim of that pollution.)

Theme 5: Social and societal responsibility

Mobilization of the different stakeholders is going to take place through education. Education (formal, non-formal and informal) is a tool of empowerment and capacity-building, and a prerequisite to mobilize not only individuals but also communities at large. Education and training should focus on the local needs, especially where governmental action is lacking. The empowerment of women is another key aspect in the education about climate change as they are the main educators, carers and providers in the countries most affected by climate change and their expertise needs to be acknowledged.

A key point is the flow of information and communication about the common and global goal so that communities are more capable of dealing with actions against climate change but also advocate for their rights and needs. NGOs are the focal points for action against climate change by supporting, training and mentoring and organizing awareness campaigns in their local communities.

A comprehensive and inclusive approach is requested to combat the complex matter of climate change. A cooperation between all stakeholders, i.e. civil society, states, public and private sector as well as academia, is urgently needed. The challenges and gaps have to be analysed collectively including locally produced data so common solutions can be found.

Furthermore, each individual should be committed and accountable for their actions at all levels, i.e. think about how they consume, behave, and produce.

Conclusions: Calls to Action

We call for collective action, consultation, and necessary political decisions at all levels, which set binding agreements and commitments in the community, national and international level, that will address a problematic which is already devastating the lives of millions of people

We underline the role of education (formal and non-formal), volunteering, cultural action and research; the necessity of participation at all levels of our society, and the necessary recognition that these global problems need global, localand inclusive solutions that involve all citizens and stakeholders on an equal basis.


SUBMITTED BY DANIELLE OBADIA, ICJW Representative UNESCO, Paris