Beijing NGO Network for International Exchanges (Beijing NGO) co-hosted the parallel event on “Actively Coping with Climate Change and Contributing to Humanity’s Sustainable Development” in cooperation with China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO) and Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation on July 6 at Beijing Peace Garden Museum during the 50th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Experts and scholars from relevant agencies at home and abroad, as well as representatives of international organizations, conducted in-depth exchanges and discussions at the event, and shared folk wisdom for international affairs and global ecological environment governance.
Mohamed Rasheed, former Maldivian Ambassador to China and President of the China Maldives Cultural Association:
Human rights and climate change are eternal topics. There would be no peaceful environment without harmony between man and nature. As a result of the volatile international situation and the COVID-19 pandemic, countries and regions with different cultures and systems slow down their efforts to formulate policies and take action to address the climate crisis. The leaders of some island nations expressed deep concern during our talks that climate change would endanger regional security and aggravate poverty. The Maldives wants to be a pacesetter in taking mitigation measures in areas such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Maldives has initiated a slew of adaptation initiatives such as coastal protection tools and community projects to minimize the impact of climate change and restore the resilience of the eco-environment.
Liu Fengwei, Director of the Green Belt and Road Program at WWF Beijing Office:
In order that countries along the Belt and Road access renewable energy more effectively, off-grid or microgrid systems should be vigorously developed and used locally. In 2015, China achieved 100 percent energy access across the country. As a global leader in energy access, China can extensively share Chinese wisdom and Chinese solutions for global energy undertaking. International development assistance is a key source of funds and technology for bringing electricity to areas without electricity. In China, there are many projects for study and assistance in this field. Moreover, renewable energy should be developed, with consideration to project sustainability and impact on the local environment and society.
Christine Mwangi, Director of Africa Sustainable Investment Project, WWF Kenya Office:
We must recognize that infrastructure must be developed in a nature-based and resilient manner. For example, planting mango trees helps mitigate the damage caused by floods to the soil environment. This mitigates the destructive power of natural disasters to some extent while helping to develop the economy in light of local conditions and reduce the environmental impact. This improves the quality of life of locals to a certain extent. In some parts of Africa, the construction of dams, reservoirs and other infrastructure causes damage to the eco-environment, and remedial measures are often temporary and one-time measures. Therefore, local residents need green, sound, resilient infrastructure that considers ecological benefits. The whole process is sustainable only when every link is sustainable. My work in Nairobi made me deeply aware of the importance of the mutual promotion of the eco-environment and economic development, as well as the necessity to respond to climate change with a focus on the environment, adapt to local social development, and conduct business investment in the right way.
Liu Jiashun, Vice Chairman and Secretary-General of China Green Carbon Foundation:
Title: “China’s National Park Construction in the Context of Climate Change”.
Triple crises must be tackled in order to protect and promote human rights. Humanity is confronting triple crises of climate imbalance, loss of nature and biodiversity, as well as pollution and waste. It is more difficult to address the three intertwined crises. Humanity must cope with these triple crises in a coordinated manner and make the uttermost in all endeavors in order to secure a beautiful future and better protect and promote human rights.
National parks will benefit all people, and the principle of holistic protection, systematic restoration, and comprehensive management is implemented. We should offer education on the natural environment and provide the public with opportunities to have affinity with, experience, and learn about nature and to engage in recreation. We should encourage public involvement, stimulate their initiative, raise the awareness of nature conservation, and enhance a sense of national pride. We should leverage the function of national parks to provide ecosystem services for all, so that the environmental rights and interests of all can be guaranteed and their right to participate is exercised. It effectively protects and promotes the human rights of all people.
China set clear requirements for the establishment of a nature reserves system centering on national parks, with nature reserves as the basis and various natural parks as the supplement. As national parks are being built in China, the nature reserves system centering on national parks will mature and more sustainable with more functions, thereby making greater contribution to the cause of human rights.
Wang Yuanfeng, Special Researcher of CHINGSHIH Insight and Director of the Beijing Jiaotong University Carbon Neutral Technology and Strategic Research Center:
Climate change affects people’s right to subsistence, development and health, and undermines people’s access to resources such as food and water. It has claimed many lives around the world every year. China’s National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2035 puts forward many important initiatives such as building resilient cities and building a regional pattern for adaptation to climate change. It is hoped that by 2035, the capacity of China’s society to adapt to climate change will be markedly improved, and a climate-resilient society will be essentially established, thereby greatly mitigating the impact of climate change on human rights. Protecting human rights calls for increasing climate adaptation and ESG transformation at enterprises. Sustainable development of enterprises begins with a company’s value system and a principle-based approach to engaging in business. It means at least performing basic responsibilities in human rights, labor standards, the environment and fight against corruption. Enterprise can lay the groundwork for their long-term success, and also fulfill their basic responsibilities to people and the Earth by incorporating the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact into corporate strategies, policies and procedures, and creating a culture of integrity.
Xu Yinlong, a researcher at the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture of CAAS:
In the speech entitled “Adapting to Climate Change and Increasing the Resilience of Sustainable Development in Agriculture”, he interpreted China’s National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2035 in professional terms, emphasized the importance of enhancing the resilience of sustainable agricultural development to tackle climate change, and pointed out that the philosophy of tackling climate change with the principle of synergy between adaptation and mitigation as put forward in the Strategy offers new ideas for diversified participation in global eco-environmental governance. It is necessary to make more efficient utilization of agroclimatological resources, optimize the agricultural structure, carry out the certification of climate-friendly low-carbon agricultural products, and develop geographical indications agricultural products with local characteristics. It is necessary to adjust the work ideas and technical paths for agricultural disaster prevention and mitigation according to the new characteristics of agroclimatological disasters. It is necessary to enhance the protection of agricultural biodiversity, bring into full play the protection of agricultural biodiversity and the service functions of agricultural ecosystems, and increase the resilience of agricultural climate.
The world is undergoing a period of major development, great change and profound readjustment. Beijing NGO stands ready to establish and forge ties with non-governmental organizations in various countries, practice multilateralism, prioritize cooperation in areas related to people’s wellbeing, and give full play to its own role to contribute to building a fair, harmonious and green world.
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