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ECOWAS Conference Calls for Human Rights Approach to Climate Change

© ECOWAS17 September 2009: The Regional Conference on Protection Challenges to Climate Change in West Africa, held from 14-16 September 2009, in Lomé, Togo, called for broader consideration of the social impacts of climate change through a human rights- based approach.

The meeting released the “Lomé Declaration on Climate Change and Protection of Civilians in West Africa,” calling for broader consideration of the social impacts of climate change through a human rights-based approach, and considering the growing negative impact of climate change on the stability of the region, including the human security and citizens' rights. Participants highlighted conflicts arising from natural resource depletion and the infringement of displaced people's rights. They also recommended establishment of a special fund to help address climate change-induced impacts on affected parts of the population; called for measures to protect climate-affected persons; and agreed that a regional platform should be established for information exchange.

The meeting was facilitated by the Economic Council of Western African States (ECOWAS), the UN Office in West Africa, the government of Togo, and the regional UN Offices of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. It was attended by the 15 member States of ECOWAS and Mauritania, as well as numerous intergovernmental and non-governmental agencies. [ECOWAS press release]