Global Humanitarian Forum Addresses Human Impact of Climate Change
24 June 2009: The Global Humanitarian Forum took place from 23-24 June 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, and was organized around the theme “Human Impact of Climate Change.”
The Forum responded to the challenges raised by the recently published “Human Impact Report: Climate Change – The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis,” which documents the global human impact of climate change and estimates that, due to climate change, over 300,000 people are killed each year, over US$100 billion in damage is caused, and around 26 million people already displaced. The event brought together over 400 representatives from governments, UN agencies, the private sector and NGOs, and included workshops that addressed four main thematic focus areas: climate change and displacement of people; adapting to climate impacts; post-Kyoto: Copenhagen and beyond; and new frontiers: evolving responses.
In the opening plenary, Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General and Global Humanitarian Forum President, noted that the burden of climate change is projected to “hit hardest those who already face the biggest disadvantages and challenges,” although “this additional burden falls on those who have done so little to cause the problem.” Margaret Chan, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General, said that work needs to be done with affected peoples to build their resilience, adding that the impact of climate change has been underestimated. Others involved in the event included: Ann Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director; John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Rajendra Pachauri, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chairman; Achim Steiner, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director; and Jeremiah Lengoasa, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Assistant Secretary General. In closing, Annan called on world leaders to reach an agreement in Copenhagen that is based on climate justice, adding that “it must be global, it must be fair and it must be binding.” [Forum Programme][Forum Website]