UN Report: Climate policies can uplift vulnerable groups, but inclusive approve needed

Staff Writer

The United Nations Climate Change Katowice Committee on Impacts (KCI) has highlighted the potential for climate policies to empower vulnerable populations, while also warning of unintended consequences without an inclusive approach.

According to the report published by the UNFCCC Katowice Committee of Experts on the Impacts of the Implementation of Response Measures (KCI), people in vulnerable situations are often marginalised during the planning and implementation of climate policies.

This lack of participation can lead to policies that have negative and unintended impacts on vulnerable groups.

“Across all selected mitigation policies and for all identified groups of people in vulnerable situations, there are various positive and negative impacts and co-benefits of the implementation of response measures on them, yet there is general agreement in the literature that response measures exacerbate these groups’ vulnerability,” the report reads.

“People in vulnerable situations are consistently marginalised in the process of planning and implementing response measures. Among the groups of people in vulnerable situations identified, women and the poor are the groups most examined in assessments of response measures.”

The report notes that while some mitigation policies, such as those promoting cleaner energy sources, have the potential to reduce women’s fuel-gathering activities and domestic burden, others may have adverse effects, like limiting women’s land tenure rights or their ability to participate in the workforce.

Similarly, local communities and indigenous peoples can be negatively impacted by renewable energy projects that disrupt their traditional practices or displace them from their land.

However, these communities can also benefit from renewable energy projects that provide access to clean energy and create economic opportunities.

The report emphasises the need for a more inclusive approach to climate policy-making. This entails actively engaging people in vulnerable situations throughout the design and implementation of climate policies.

Stakeholder engagement at the national level and beyond is crucial to understanding the potential impacts on these groups.

The report examines how policies like carbon trading, energy efficiency, and renewable energy adoption can create opportunities for women, local communities, indigenous peoples, and others often disproportionately affected by climate change.

However, the report also identifies risks, such as limitations on land rights or displacement due to renewable energy projects.

The report also calls for further research to better quantify the impacts of climate policies on vulnerable populations. This research is essential for designing policies that minimise negative impacts and maximise positive ones.

The report concludes that by integrating a human rights-based approach into climate action, a more sustainable future can be built for everyone.

Established in 2018, the KCI is a constituted body that supports work to assess the impact of mitigation policies, programmes and actions taken to combat climate change by Parties under the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

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