“Climate change is about more than just the weather, it is connected to some of the most pressing issues humanity currently faces,” says UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. As countries across the world are striving to improve the welfare of their people and reduce existing inequalities, the impacts of climate change and environmental risks threaten to get in the way of these aspirations as they hold back the most vulnerable, exacerbating already existing inequalities.
According to Dr. Elizabet Paunovic, Head of Office of the World Health Organization’s European Centre for Environment and Health (WHO/ECEH), “inequalities in environmental risk exposure are a substantial challenge to be tackled to achieve the SDGs. In order to leave no-one behind, we will need a fair distribution of environmental resources and adequate living conditions for all people.”
For example, “coastal delta regions are key to achieving sustainable development for all. Not only are coastal deltas home to a considerable part of the world population, but it is also here that we can see very clearly the interactions between climate change and mega drivers such as globalization and migration, embracing a range of SDGs,” says Prof. Jakob Rhyner, Director of the United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). “We need to research and develop robust policy solutions to ensure that coastal deltas remain development hubs for all. This includes looking carefully at the development of environmental risks and how they can best be managed.”
Why are certain environments and population groups more affected than others? How can we ensure that adaptation opportunities are equally distributed to reduce environmental risks? What role can media play in tackling these global challenges?
These and other urgent questions will be discussed by three senior UN experts working at the UN Bonn on climate change adaptation, environmental risks and health equity. The session will be moderated by Ms. Caroline Petit, Deputy Director of the UN Regional Information Centre (UNRIC) in Brussels.
Koko Warner (UNFCCC) will provide insights on how global climate action works to provide solutions that build resilience. Matthias Braubach (WHO/ECEH) will look at inequality within a social context and from an environmental and health perspective. Zita Sebesvari (UNU-EHS) will share her personal experience of working with communities in river deltas where risk and opportunities to respond are unequally distributed.