Clean, healthy environment integral to human rights: Mohieldin in Geneva

Ahram Online , Tuesday 3 Oct 2023

Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN climate change high level champion for Egypt, said that a clean and healthy environment is essential to the human rights to life, health, water, food, housing, and a decent standard of living.



His remarks came during a meeting on Tuesday at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), on the sidelines of the Building Bridges Conference in Geneva.

Mohieldin, who is also the UN special envoy on financing 2030 sustainable development agenda, stated that governments and other actors can address climate change in a way that is consistent with their human rights obligations, including the right to development.

He stressed the importance of dealing with loss and damage caused by climate change as a way to protect human rights in the most vulnerable communities, pointing to the breakthrough launch of the Loss and Damage Fund during COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Mohieldin and Ambassador Mohamed Nasr, director of the Environment, Climate, and Sustainable Development Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed that they expect that an agreement on the fund’s activation would be one of the most important outcomes of COP28 in Dubai this year.

Confronting climate change requires overcoming gaps, including the adaptation gap between capacities, finance and technology required to achieve adaptation to climate change and what is available, they added.

International Labour Organization meeting

In a separate meeting held by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Mohieldin stressed that the success of a just transition depends on ensuring social and economic development.

He explained that climate action must strengthen the link between confronting climate change and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The climate champion said that a just transition requires developing skills, achieving economic diversification, strengthening social support and governance, activating financing for low-carbon economies, along with including the guiding principles of the transition process within the nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Mohieldin, along with the participants of the meeting, noted that most-affected individuals must be protected from the impacts of the transition.

This can be achieved through providing alternative jobs to the affected workers, supporting emission-intensive sectors in the transition phase, and providing financial and technical support to countries and regions that are highly dependent on producing or consuming fossil fuels.

World Trade Organization meeting

During a meeting with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director general of the World Trade Organization, Mohieldin and Ngozi confirmed the important role of trade in the transition to global low-carbon economy and more sustainable societies, saying that tariffs, for example, are important tools used by governments to signal the right prices for markets.

In a separate meeting with Ngozi, Secretary General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Rebeca Grynspan, and President of World Economic Forum Borge Brende, Mohieldin stated that the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) approved by the EU imposes restrictions on developing countries and limits the competitiveness of their products.

He added that the mechanism also negatively affects the hard-to-abate sectors in the exporting countries to the EU and reduces the volume of trade between the two sides, which will be reflected in the decline of the GDP of these countries.

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