Climate Change: How it impacts us all

Report of the 60th Annual DP/NGO Conference

United Nations, New York, 5 -7 September 2007

Vijay Mehta


Over 1,750 participants representing over 500 non-governmental organisations from more than 62 countries attended the 3-day conference at the United Nations headquarters. The packed agenda included roundtable sessions and workshops. Among the notable speakers was Asha-Rose Migiro, the UN deputy secretary-general, Achim Steiner, executive director for UNEP, and Rajendra Pachuri, chairman of the IPCC. There were eminent speakers including representatives of member-states, UN agencies and programs, the scientific community, the private sector, media and civil society.

There was a general recognition that our planet and environment is in peril and major catastrophes will follow if we do not take responsibility to protect ourselves and future generations. Global warming threats are real were reinforced by the latest scientific evidence from a wide variety of experts and from indigenous people.

If the environment collapses, it will have catastrophic effects to Earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity. It will also reduce availability of food, water, energy and transport. It will increase massive migration of populations and the possible destruction of entire cultures and small island nations. It will also have significant damage to our economic, political, cultural, social life. Another effect of it will be an increase in violence and conflict. It will have negative impacts on human health and life expectancy and increase spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

There was a general feeling that an imminent framework for action should be adopted by governments at all level in cooperation with United Nations, NGO and civil society before threats become irreversible. The government, industry and UN leaders were urged to prioritise action on climate change and also to come up with a successor to Kyoto agreement which expires in 2012. It was pointed out that this should be done as a matter of urgency in the forthcoming UN climate change conference in Bali in December 2007.

Speakers at different roundtable and workshops emphasised that:

Other interconnected areas covered by the climate change conference were sustainable development, agriculture, forestry, issues affecting indigenous peoples, biodiversity, livestock and animal welfare, nuclear proliferation, the end of war, justice, ethnic groups, multigenerational issues, youth, gender equality, education, poverty, food and water security, culture of peace, interfaith cooperation, national global security and economic justice, as well as mental, spiritual and physical health.

It was a fantastic opportunity for networking with NGOs and civil society, UN officials and the media.


September 2007