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Topic Areas – The Humanitarian Impact of Climate Change

Topic areas addressed at the Forum’s inaugural annual Forum 2008


Climate Justice in a Shared Global Ecosphere

The development of the industrialized world is largely based on past and current fossil fuel consumption that is itself the principle cause of global warming. Those who have consumed the least carbon resources, who have contributed the least to climate change, bear the brunt of its adverse effects. Under a shared ecosphere, and given scarce global resources, historical economic growth has also seriously exacerbated ongoing poverty reduction efforts. Linking these issues together can be grounds for a global solution. Could the architecture of a post-Kyoto agreement be capable of effectively reconciling these injustices? Or is a post-Kyoto framework destined to be an effective tool only for emission reductions? Would emission trading on a worldwide but individual per capita level provide a better instrument for ensuring global climate justice? Indeed, could personal responsibility for individual carbon emissions provide a new system of global equity? Do any other serious alternatives exist?

New forms of urban life – new forms of development

Can smart design and urban planning be used to better harness the resources available to least developed countries, help protect the poorest from climate impacts all while promoting clean development? Can we design new forms of development?

The climate-security nexus: conflict or cooperation?

The changing climate will place people already on the edge of survival under unbearable stress. This creates tensions in the competition for life-maintaining resources, such as water. Can we already talk of climate-induced wars? How can we ensure cooperation, not conflict?

Are the right risks insured?

Given the scale and scope of climate risks today and tomorrow, are the right risks insured? In addition, what possibilities exist for expanding insurance coverage to most vulnerable populations? Is climate change insurable?

Innovative financing for adaptation: what new ideas?

The poorest countries are not only forced to fight poverty; now many must also battle the adverse effects of climate change – both of which demand significant resources and financing. How can the additional bill of climate change be met when existing promises of development aid continue to go unfulfilled? How much additional funding can be mobilized on the basis of the polluter pays principle?

Climate responsibility and global media

Understanding of climate change is the first step for taking action. How can we raise worldwide awareness for the human face of climate change and trigger action? How can we best use modern communication to explain climate change to worst affected communities and convey advanced warnings?

What are business opportunities for “adaptation”?

Experts agree: adapting to climate change in developing countries alone will cost billions of dollars every year. Is that reason for concern or a tremendous business opportunity?

Energy for the poor: energizing the MDGs?

Development relies on energy – but we cannot afford for developing countries to follow the same path of carbon-reliant development as the industrialized world. Is it possible to significantly improve energy supply and services to the poor while remaining clean and green?

Coastal cities in the global south: waiting for the
next mega-disaster?

Much of the world’s poor live in the coastal urban slums of the developing world, which are heavily exposed to climate risks. A repeat of hurricane Katrina here would cause unimaginable devastation. Yet most of these areas are leagues away from being prepared for what is now a highly probable scenario.

Climate change and health: what partnerships?

Higher temperatures increase the spread of infectious diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever, with crippling consequences for vulnerable populations. Drugs and latest technologies are needed to combat these growing health concerns, but are rarely at the disposal of those most in need. What partnerships can change that?

Key priorities for food security in a changing climate?

Climate change is aggravating the current global food crisis. Soaring food prices hit the poor hardest. On the other hand, they also create new opportunities for farmers in developing countries. What are the strategies to exploit these opportunities and boost food security in the face of unpredictable and changing climatic conditions?

Dealing with regional water stress

Higher temperatures and shifting rain patterns are changing already dry lands into desert. Can we realistically provide water to populations in these regions, or is migration the only sensible long-term solution?

Practical solutions to empower vulnerable people
and communities

Sometimes simple solutions have the biggest impact. From traditional knowledge through to rainwater harvesting and advanced satellite imagery, what are the best solutions available today, and how can they be provided en masse to populations in need?


Inaugural Youth Forum on the human impact of climate change announced
03 March 2009 Geneva,  From 17 – 19 June 2009 the Global Humanitarian Forum will host its inaugural Youth Forum entitled Young Adults 4 New Results in Geneva. Young participants from the Geneva region will come together to learn, experience and develop new and innovative solutions as to how today’s youth can address the h...

University of Pretoria to co-host GHF Climate Justice Dialogue
10 February 2009

PRETORIA, South Africa – A high-level dialogue on Climate Justice will be held at the University of Pretoria, jointly with the Global Humanitarian Forum, on Saturday 28 February.  read...

Forum co-hosts Climate Justice Debate at Davos Open Forum
30 January 2009 DAVOS, Switzerland,  The Global Humanitarian Forum co-organized today’s panel on Climate Justice at the Open Forum Davos to discus solutions to the injustices of climate change and actions needed at the international level.

Forum Unites with Major Communications Group for Global Climate Campaign
29 January 2009 DAVOS,Switzerland, 
Kofi Annan, President of the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum, announced here today a global partnership with French advertising group Havas’s agency EURO RSCG Worldwide. EURO RSCG will drive the communications of the Forum’s globa...

Expert Climate Justice Workshop Paves Way for Ethical Foundation to a Global Climate Deal
15 December 2008 GENEVA,  The Global Humanitarian Forum convened today a group of 20 experts in the fields of ethics, human rights, climate change, and poverty to begin the formulation of a set of universal climate justice principles.

Hans Wilsdorf Foundation Contributes to Global Humanitarian Forum
09 October 2008 GENEVA, 09 October 2008 – The Global Humanitarian Forum, presided over by Kofi Annan, has the pleasure to announce the decision of the foundation board of the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation of 23 September 2008 to support the activities of the Forum with the sum of CHF 500'000.- for 2008 and the same amount for 2009.

Kofi Annan Launches Global Alliance for Climate Justice
25 June 2008

GENEVA, 25 June 2008 – Kofi Annan said today at the first annual meeting of the Global Humanitarian Forum, which he presides, that a global alliance for climate justice is a necessity. Annan, joined by some 300 participants agreed to support efforts to establish clim...

Energy for the Poor
25 June 2008 GENEVA, 25 June – At least 1.6 billion people in the world have no access to electricity. What can be done to make clean, efficient energy available to them? Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says one of the keys is research and development int...

Solana versus Sachs
25 June 2008 GENEVA, 25 June – The annual meeting reached a climax with a keynote debate between Javier Solana, the European Union's head of foreign and security policy, and Jeffery Sachs, a special adviser to United Nations Secretary-General on the millennium development goals, on the best ways of tackling climate change.

Kofi Annan reveals the way forward
25 June 2008 GENEVA, 25 June – As the main proceedings of the annual meeting drew to a close, the Forum’s President, Kofi Annan, summarised the conclusions of many of the roundtable discussions held over the past few days.