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Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, yesterday joined First Minister Alex Salmond, to launch Scotland’s Climate Justice Fund and called for other countries to share Scotland’s ambition on climate change – by both reducing their carbon emissions and implementing climate justice.
Climate justice is a response to the injustice that the world’s poorest communities, who have done least to cause climate change, are bearing the brunt of its impact, due to increasingly erratic weather patterns and more climate-related disasters such as floods and droughts.
The Scottish Government is providing £3 million for the fund – one million per year for the next three years - which will support water projects in Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia – increasing communities’ resilience to the impacts of climate change.
At today’s launch, a short film was released highlighting support for climate justice from across Scottish society. It included endorsements from: SCIAF, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Oxfam Scotland, Amnesty International, Christian Aid, Cardinal Keith O’Brian, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scottish Power Renewables, Islamic Relief, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the STUC, Friends of the Earth Scotland and WWF Scotland.
The fund is also supported by the 2020 Climate Group, and the Network of International Development Organisations of Scotland (NIDOS), and has attracted cross-party support from the Scottish Parliament.
First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“The huge injustice of climate change is that it is those who have done the least to cause the problem - the most vulnerable from the world’s poorest communities - who are hardest hit by it. That is why Scotland is committed to supporting climate justice and why we are launching Scotland’s Climate Justice Fund.
“In launching this fund we are all too aware that one country cannot win the battle against climate change alone. Collective action is not an option but an imperative, and we need to ensure our actions and our message inspires others to act.
"Mary Robinson’s support is testament to the key international role Scotland is playing in delivering climate justice. Scotland is providing strong leadership – sending a clear message to other industrialised nations that urgent action is needed and calling on them to share Scotland’s ambition on climate justice.“
Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice said:
“Creating a new narrative based on climate justice, which amplifies the voices of the vulnerable, can inject the necessary urgency and ambition into the international negotiations to reach a new legally binding agreement by 2015. We will know that we have achieved an equitable solution when the human rights of the most vulnerable are upheld and protected.
“Scotland’s Climate Justice Fund acknowledges that those who contributed least to the causes of climate change are bearing the brunt of its impacts. To address this injustice, Scotland is delivering on commitments to build resilience of the world’s poorest communities to the impacts of climate change. Importantly, delivering these commitments builds trust between developed and developing countries who need to work together to solve the problem of climate change.”
Speaking in support of action on climate justice, Professor Alan Miller, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission said:
“We welcome the launch of the Climate Justice Fund today. There must be broad recognition that the people who have contributed the least to climate change are suffering the most through extreme weather, desertification, crop failures, water shortages and newly spreading diseases – this situation violates their human rights and simply cannot continue.”
Ian Marchant, Chair of 2020 Climate Group said:
"The 2020 Climate Group warmly welcomes the Scottish Government's climate justice fund. Dealing with climate change is fundamentally a matter of justice. The Climate Justice Fund recognises our moral responsibility to show leadership and support those countries in the global South that are suffering from the impacts of climate change. Scotland already has world leading climate change legislation, this is a great next step towards ensuring that Scotland is a key player in tackling climate change."
Gillian Wilson, Chief Executive of the Network of International Development Organisations of Scotland, said:
“ NIDOS warmly welcomes the announcement of the Climate Justice Fund which shows the Scottish Government’s recognition of our ’climate debt’ to poorer countries. Many communities in these countries are already facing crop failure, dwindling water sources and increased disease incidence due to climate change. We hope the Fund will grow and welcome that the funds are in addition to the Scottish Government’s International Development Funds, given the still vital need to improve access to quality education, health services and enterprise development in these countries.”
Mr Salmond also announced that Scotland’s Environment Minister, Stewart Stevenson will attend the United Nation Summit in Rio next month, and will champion climate justice in support of Mary Robinson and developing country governments. Scotland’s involvement has been welcomed by leading environmental organisations.
Commenting Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland said:
“It is only because of the original Rio conference that we have international action on climate, forests and nature, so Rio+20 is a vital opportunity to see what has been achieved and agree to do more. It is only right for Scotland to have an official seat at Rio+20 because the Scottish Parliament unanimously agreed the strongest climate laws anywhere in the world. I'm sure Stewart Stevenson will use every opportunity at the Rio conference to promote Scotland's world-leading example."
Mrs Robinson founded the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice “to secure global justice for those many victims of climate change who are usually forgotten - the poor, the disempowered and the marginalised across the world.”
A short film highlighting support from Scottish civic society for action on climate justice is available on the Scottish Government youtube page. This includes support from aid agencies, trade unions, environment groups, human rights organisations, faith leaders, academics, and business leaders
The First Minister Alex Salmond has urged world leaders to make 2012 a 'year of climate justice' ahead of the United Nations conference on sustainable development in June.
In March 2012, during what is understood to have been the first parliamentary debate on the issue of climate justice worldwide, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change Stewart Stevenson confirmed the Scottish Government’s intention to launch a Climate Justice Fund, fulfilling a manifesto commitment.
In October 2011, the First Minister was awarded the South Australia International Climate Change Award.
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