Former Irish president Mary Robinson, has added her voice to those who are advocating for development goals, an agreement on climate change and a stronger emphasis on human rights. Robinson is a human rights campaigner and founder of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice.
The UN’s millennium development goals (MDGs) will expire in 2015 and new sustainable development goals are to take their place.
The UN has acknowledged that climate change is a human rights issue. So it stands to reason that a global agreement on climate change is a human rights issue.
Keeping global warming to below the established 2 degrees Celsius upper threshold would be one of the most far reaching ways we can protect the human rights of people around the world.
“Human rights is about targeting the very vulnerable … making governments more accountable and [ensuring] the participation by people on how goals will be implemented,” Robinson was quoted as saying in the Guardian.
In 1993 the Vienna declaration renewed efforts to protect and promote human rights enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, there is a big discrepancy between what was said and what is being done.
“The post-2015 development agenda is the most important task facing the UN today. Human rights are an essential platform for development, and the rule of law is a powerful instrument to translate human rights into national development policies.”
To realize her vision we will need to deepen our understanding of human rights. This involves equally weighting economic, social and cultural rights alongside political and civil rights. Part of the solution will also involve better measurements to assess whether excluded communities are benefiting.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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