On 7 December 2017, UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay opened the 8th International Forum of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in official partnership with UNESCO, alongside Philippe Beaussant, Chair of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee and Kenneth Kam, Founding President of the Kenn Foundation.
Two years after the Paris Climate Agreement, and a few days before the One Planet Summit organized at the initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations, the 8th NGO Forum brings together more than 300 representatives of civil society to share their vision of the contribution of NGOs to the fight against climate change.
What Is Climate Change?
Climate Change refers to the change in the distribution of weather patterns over a period of time – usually measured over decades to thousands of years. Climate Change is caused by natural factors as well as human activities.
Natural factors such as variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics, and volcanic eruptions contribute to the change in global weather conditions. The human activities that cause Climate Change are referred to as ‘global warming’. In the modern environment science, the term ‘global warming’ is interchangeably used with Climate Change.
The main cause of global warming or the human-led Climate Change is environmental pollution which contaminates the atmosphere with pollutants such as chemicals and energies. Pollution, therefore, has become a major factor that is causing ‘global warming’ or Climate Change.
As compared to the perils of environmental pollution that affect human health, the Climate Change brings mass destruction with floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis.
Climate Change, which is an emerging subject in the global debate on environment, has assumed greater significance after 2016 Paris Agreement on Climate Change or Paris Climate Agreement.
It is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that aims to deal with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation and overall environment protection, starting in the year 2020. As of August 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the Agreement and out of them 160 have ratified it.
By Rakesh Raman
Over two days of debate, the Forum aims to identify ways of action for NGOs to support the work of UNESCO and make recommendations to the Organization in its various fields of competence.
The debates will focus on three central themes: the role of civil society organizations in addressing climate change; Ocean and climate change; and World Heritage, Biosphere Reserves, and the knowledge and actions of indigenous peoples.
The discussions will also define a concrete plan of action in relation to UNESCO’s Declaration of Ethical Principles relating to Climate Change, recently adopted by the General Conference of the Organization.
Photo courtesy: UNESCO
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