Bergen Symposium Focuses on Interplay Among Climate Change, Development and Human Rights

18 October 2012: The Bergen Symposium has concluded with the adoption of the Bergen Message, which urges that the interaction between climate change, sustainable development and human rights should be studied more closely, and calls for the actual impact on the life and rights of people to be brought to the forefront.

The Symposium, which was held from 16-17 October 2012, in Bergen, Norway, was organized jointly by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the City of Bergen, with the support of the UN Association of Norway. The Symposium aimed to explore how the interplay among climate change – development – human rights works at different scales, from global to local level, and how new technologies can bring value to create synergy in that regard.

In his opening speech, Francesco Pisano, UNITAR, explained that the objectives of the symposium were to explore best practices and gain knowledge of the interaction and connection among climate change, development and human rights. He underlined that this interaction will shape the future of civilization, stressing that cross-thematic research and innovative solutions are key to achieving sustainable development.

Other presenters also cited examples of the interaction of these three areas, such as disaster risk reduction (DRR) initiatives in Eastern Africa and South-East Asia, implemented by Norway and UNITAR, and the Global Framework for Climate Services.

In her address, Heba El-Kholy, Director of the UN Development Programme's (UNDP) Oslo Governance Centre, discussed some crucial issues for world governance, including the role of youth and the private sector. Filip Rygg, the Commissioner for Urban Planning, Environment and Climate of the City of Bergen, noted that the city itself is an example of how these areas intersect and interact with each other, stressing the important role of the local level.

The Bergen Message, adopted at the conclusion of the Symposium, further stresses that, for future generations to have better standards of living, there is a need for the current generation to operate a shift of focus from scientific knowledge to mitigating impacts on humans and planning new processes that can lead to results at the local level. [UNITAR Press Release] [Bergen Symposium Website]