Climate change will have considerable impact on the people of the Pacific - from subsistence food production for food security in villages and rural communities to industries and commercial development in towns and cities. Its impacts will be felt in the oceans and on land, which sustain the livelihood and economic activity for a majority of Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs).
Different populations face different risks and have varying capacities to adapt. There are also different perspectives and priorities toward adaptation approached between the national and community levels in many instances.
There is a significant human rights dimension to climate change as it affects the right to food security, safe drinking water, adequate housing and standard of living, personal security, culture and right to life.
Climate change cuts across the full spectrum of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, and it is important that these considerations are fully integrated into adaptation decision making processes and overall climate responses nationally and regionally. Communities in the Pacific need to be informed, have a voice and be empowered to act.
The RRRT Programme continues to bring attention to the human rights dimension of climate change through supporting education and awareness on using a human rights framework as part of adaptation, agreements and negotiations with lawyers through the Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (PDLP), with Members of Parliament and through mainstreaming climate change and human rights education in training programmes.
It is clear that a discourse on climate change and human rights is emerging, and the use of a human rights framework by policy makers and key stakeholders involved in climate change work is rather limited.
The Team is engaged with the issue in the following ways:
In addition through the provision of technical advice in treaty and Universal Periodic Review reporting, we will ensure that human rights reports capture issues connected with climate change.
In addition, we will continue to mainstream climate change and human rights into all training for civil society groups, adaptation projects and in regional climate change meetings to ensure that human rights becomes integral to climate change planning and implementation by regional and national bodies.
For more information on human rights and climate change see http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/HRAndClimateChange/Pages/HRClimateChangeIndex.aspx
Download the PDF version of the flyer below.
Family Protection legislation in the region
Four Pacific Island countries passed Family Protection legislation to protect families especially women and girls from violence;
Tonga: Family Protection Act 2013
Kiribati: Family Peace Act 2014
Solomon Islands: Family Protection Act 2014
Tuvalu: Family Protection Act 2014
There is ongoing drafting works in PNG and Niue as well as implementation plans for Sols, Tonga, Kiribati and Tuvalu.
USP Diploma in Leadership, Governance & Human Rights
The University of the South Pacific (USP), in partnership with the Regional Rights Resources Team of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) launched a new Diploma in Leadership, Governance and Human Rights in February 2013. The Diploma is scooping high enrolments since its launch;
- 649 enrolments over five subjects in the first two years, 130% increase in student numbers for the introductory course since its first offering in semester 1, 2013 (from 73 enrolments to 169), - 57.3% of enrolments are women
- 13 Pacific island countries represented in student enrolments (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu)
The Diploma aims to produce graduates who will be better able to provide leadership, communicate ideas, solve problems, analyse arguments, research new topics, and contribute to effective development in their communities and organisations.
Human Rights Reporting
To date, ten Pacific Island Countries have been supported by SPC RRRT together with other development partners to comply with the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review process.
SPC RRRT contributed to national capacity development and good governance through extensive training, mock exercises, general advice and related technical assistance around reporting.