Good question, @Megan - Because for most people in poorer countries climate change isn’t what they identify as the issue – the outcome or impact is food and nutrition insecurity, lack of access to water, poor health, declining livelihoods which means less money to send kids to school etc. (all issues that rank high across all countries).
Climate change is a development issue – it isn’t a parallel environmental issue that only affects some of us or is a future threat. Likewise many of the high priorities are important for a climate justice approach such as access to education, an honest and responsive government and access to jobs (a just transition to a green economy).
@Megan on the SG's views on limits on what post-20156 process can achieve on climate chnage: While it is important to allow the separate intergovernmental tracks on Post-2015 and Climate Change to mature separately, it is important to understand how they interconnect and to ensure that their outcomes contain measures to complement and reinforce each other. This is particularly important, mindful of the multi-dimensional nature of both challenges and the necessity for the future post-2015 sustainable development agenda to be coherent and integrated. For instance, on the financing issue, the Intergovernmental Expert Committee on a Sustainable Development Financing Strategy will hopefully provide some guidance on this issue.
@ Jamie Clark - Climate change is not a future problem, it's a current problem and it's happening right now. Floods in Eastern Europe and India are just a couple of examples - we need to change the narrative and talk about climate as a problem that is already happening, right here, right now
@MediaGlobalNews - There is some effort to make the post-2015 goals universal, but actually maybe that is a hard sell. Good point you make...
Sally, I feel very strongly that we can't pass the reponsibilty to others. We need to take as much responsibilties as possible - that's why we need consituencies of demand, and other kinds of leadership, such as the Troika+ of Women Leaders on Gender and Climate Change, which will have to lead on intergenerational justice into the future.
Apologies to Amina - she is very much with us! Fire away with your questions all....
@Megan @MediaGlobalNews It is absolutely vital that the goals are made universal - that is key to the report from the High Level Panel. No country has reached true sustainable development, so every country has to adopt new approaches for a post 2015 world.
These kinds of debates are one good example of low-carbon action! No one needs to travel but we can still dig into the issues....
Given the urgent timeframes for action - the IEA report says we have just 4 years to turn the tide of global energy consumption - we all need to get behind the MDGs and help fully integrate climate change, and send a signal that we need a low carbon and climate resilient future for all
@Megan on question about perceived low popularity of climate action in consultations: A priority of a #post2015 agenda will be to safeguard any gains made on poverty and prosperity well into the future, by building in a more sustainable approach to progress. What emerges from the #MYWorld2015 survey is that while people are concerned with their immediate environment - protecting forests, rivers and oceans ranks highly among many groups – climate change is a
lower priority. This almost certainly reflects the well-known phenomenon whereby people discount the effects of events likely to happen in the future, being more concerned about immediate priorities such as education, health or governance.
Protecting forests, rivers and oceans is in the top ten for every country-HDI group except for the lowest (where it is ranked 15th). It features 10th across all age groups and for women, but 11th for men. Those with more education also tend to rank ecosystems more highly. By contrast climate change is outside the top ten for every group except for respondents in very high HDI countries.
Coming out strongly in the debate - climate change is an inextricable part of the development challenge. Yet we have three separate processes to deal with climate change, disaster risk reduction and development. Who is doing the strategic thinking to make sure they are cohesive, and don't just stay as three separate tracks?
How do we get joined-up thinking on issues like climate change, disaster risk reduction, food security and poverty reduction? Had a chat with Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute yesterday and he suggests getting top universities to start new "systems" degrees that include classes from a variety of key areas. "Our big problem is fragmentation and specialisation of knowledge. We've been so narrowly focused, looking at our own little piece, that very few people see the big picture."
@Amina Mohammed - on your comment to @Megan, we fully agree. It's as much about how we frame climate change in the present as well as in the future. We have to act now.
@Megan - At the ground level they all raise the same set of issues – they are all things that make people vulnerable. To those who live on the front line of poverty – climate change and development are the same issues. When my Foundation co-hosted the ‘Hunger – Nutrition – Climate Justice’ conference with the Irish Government, WFP, and CGIAR CCAFS, I told the attendees, both from high-level and grassroots backgrounds: “It is clear to me, when I visit families and communities living with the daily reality of poverty, that they see no divisions between climate change, nutrition, food security and the broader issues of human development such as the protection of rights, access to decision making and accountability. All of these issues are linked, closely-related, part of the reason why people are poor, powerless, in ill-health or hungry”. I stand by this.
At the ground level people don’t put these issues in boxes, the reasons they are poor have to do with rights, access to health care, the weather, access to decision making, gender inequality etc.
To respond to their needs the international processes have to be more coherent and respond to the interconnected nature of the issues that make people poor and vulnerable.
@Mary Robinson - I agree with what you say about people on the front line, but how do we challenge and shift the power structures that are causing climate change, and most notably those countries that bear the most historic responsibility?
Maybe we need some brief job swaps or short courses to learn about the other fields we don't specialise in?
sevarl people, including Megan, have made points about a universal framework, this is an area where the post 2015 framework could be a big improvement on the MDGs. There are two ways in which the post-2015 agenda could be truly universal. Firstly, there should be targets related to sustainable consumption and production – efficiency, waste, low-carbon energy and corporate reporting, that are relevant to richer countries. There should be accountability mechanisms that apply to developed and developing countries alike. Secondly, there could be a bigger push in the area of inequality that would also apply to all countries – the growing gap between rich and poor has environmental consequences and often leads to high carbon footprint at the top and exploitation of the weakest.
@Laurie - an interesting initiative in universities is the Masters in Development Practice, involving more than 30 universities worldwide. MRFCJ has been co-operating with the two Irish universities - Trinity College and University College Dublin - to develop a module of climate justice for the curriculum of the Masters in Development Practice. I would also like to see more emphasis on linking the human rights system and the UN Human Rights Council on the negative impacts climate change is having on all human rights.
Ten minutes of our debate to go - please send in your final questions and comments for the panel...
Amy: I think you're right on that....
Mary: That's great to hear about the university initiative!
@ John - Going back to the original question for this debate - the beyond 2015 process cannot afford not to drive action on climate change, if we dont we will fail both on delivering sustainable development and eradicating poverty, as always the challenge is political will and we all need to work harder to increase accountability and strive for good governance.
@John, One way of addressing the question is to bring out the importance of the year 2015 for a coherent international architecture. By the end of 2015 we need a robust, fair climate agreement to keep us below 2 degrees above pre-industrial standards, and we need a post-2015 development agenda with SDGs that work fairly for all countries, within that 2 degrees limit.
@Megan re joined up thinking: The UN is providing leadership on the various tracks. While they remain intergovernmental, requiring agreement from all countries, coherence and coordination is critical and at the forefront of our work.
In conclusion from my side, in response to John's point and others,… If a post 2015 framework fails to respond to the challenge of climate change, it will fail in its objectives to eradicate extreme poverty and put the world on a more sustainable development pathway. This means that sustainable energy for all, climate change adaptation, DRR and building resilient communities all need to be part of the framework and climate cahnge needs to be embedded in all the goals and targets of a final framework.