October 09, 2010



A number of observed and projected effects of climate change will pose direct and indirect threats to human lives. IPCC AR4 projects with high confidence an increase in people suffering from death, disease and injury from heat-waves, floods, storms, fires and droughts. Equally, climate change will affect the right to life through an increase in hunger and malnutrition and related disorders impacting on child growth and development; cardio-respiratory morbidity and mortality related to ground-level ozone.

Climate change will exacerbate weather-related disasters which already have devastating effects on people and their enjoyment of the right to life, particularly in the developing world. For example, an estimated 262 million people were affected by climate disasters annually from 2000 to 2004, of whom over 98 per cent live in developing countries. Tropical cyclone hazards, affecting approximately 120 million people annually, killed an estimated 250,000 people from 1980 to 2000. Protection of the right to life, generally and in the context of climate change, is closely related to measures for the fulfilment of other rights, such as those related to food, water, health and housing.


As a consequence of climate change, the potential for food production is projected initially to increase at mid to high latitudes with an increase in global average temperature in the range of 1-3° C. However, at lower latitudes crop productivity is projected to decrease, increasing the risk of hunger and food insecurity in the poorer regions of the word. According to one estimate, an additional 600 million people will face malnutrition due to climate change, with a particularly negative effect on sub-Saharan Africa. Poor people living in developing countries are particularly vulnerable given their disproportionate dependency on climate-sensitive resources for their food and livelihoods. The realization of the right to adequate food requires that special attention be given to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, including people living in disaster prone areas and indigenous peoples whose livelihood may be threatened.

(Based on the Report Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights A/HRC/10/6, 15 January 2009)


Post a Comment