Human Rights: an alternative approach for addressing climate-induced loss and damage
Loss and damage occurs when adaptation fails, resulting in extreme and often dire consequences including loss of life, livelihood and land. Developing countries are particularly vulnerable but have done little to contribute to global green-house gas emissions. Human rights should be considered in this context because of both the extreme nature of impacts and the inequity of impact. Loss and damage is now an integral part of the UNFCCC process through the establishment of the Warsaw International Mechanism in 2013, however it remains in a formative stage. How the global community conceptualises, understands and approaches the challenge of loss and damage will be defined in the next two years. The aim of this thesis is to examine the UNFCCC negotiations on loss and damage and identify a role for human rights. Through discourse analysis of formal submissions and decision texts, and interviews with key negotiators and advisors two distinct discursive narratives were identified: the dominant economic narrative and the alternative human-centered narrative. It further elucidates the absence of a human rights discourse. The human-centered narrative highlights the human impacts that are happening now, invoking fundamental ethical issues such as the unequal burden born by Small Island States and Least Developed Countries. However, these “justice” claims are not addressed in the “range of relevant approaches” considered in the UNFCCC negotiations. The dominant discursive practice is “comprehensive risk management” which correlates well with the goals and values of the economics-driven narrative. This shows there is a gap between policy approaches and the issues raised by developing countries. The final part of this thesis considers the opportunities for human rights-based approaches to address this deficiency in the areas of knowledge generation, risk assessment and participation, concluding with key policy recommendations for practitioners.
ForlagUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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