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Agora 2008: Workshop Solidarity

pdf mise en ligne :07 07 2008 ( NEA say… n° 52 )

LIBRE CIRCULATION DES PERSONNES > Perspectives financières

The Climate Change… A question of solidarity...

The workshop Solidarity was opened by Victoria Tauli Corpuz, President of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

In her speech she recalled that solidarity is one of the fundamental principles in the Treaty of Lisbon and a basis for the action of the Union and its Member States in the area of energy and Climate Change. In other words, as Mrs Corpuz declared, Member States have to act jointly in a spirit of solidarity both to help the most vulnerable countries in preventing and mitigating the destructive effects of Climate Change and to help a State if it is victim of a natural or man-made disaster.

She used a global approach to the problem giving also an important example of the impact of Climate Change on the most vulnerable peoples, like the Indigenous. She also underlined that the strategies of mitigation and adaptation of Climate Change must take into account not only the ecological dimensions, but also the dimension of human rights, equity and environmental justice. Poorer peoples, like the Indigenous one, which have the smallest ecological footprints, must not carry the heavier burden of adjusting to climate change. Just for this reason, industrialized countries, that have the heavier responsibility for the environmental pollution, should express their solidarity to these peoples, trying to develop environmentally friendly technologies that could be transferred to developing countries.

The participants agreed with this point of view; they also underlined the necessity to adapt the legal framework on intellectual property rights[1] and called on the European Institutions and the Member States to support the principle of climate justice in the negotiations on a new climate agreement[2].

Another problem raised by Mrs Corpuz was that often the attitude towards Indigenous resources, forests and territories is very violent. The Indigenous people, in spite of a struggle against deforestation, against mineral, oil and gas extraction in their territories, never had voice and legal instruments  untill the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the Genaral Assembly of UN on 13 September 2007. This Declaration recognizes the rights of this aboriginal race on their territory and confirms the rights to identity, language and upkeep of their traditions. Mrs Corpuz also highlighted the EU engagement for the adoption by the General Assembly of this declaration and she exhorted to continue in this way.

The participants agreed to highlight that climate change is linked to the development question and to the major vulnerability of  people like the Indigenous, called the European Institutions “to develop a strategy to help vulnerable regions and populations to prevent and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, in particular on food security, healt, water supplies and livelihood”[3]. They also underlined the important question about the climate forced migration, called the EU to develop an European strategy in this matter and to launch a debate with the UN on this problem[4].



…and of sustainable development.


The participants, considering the most tangible effects of Climate Change, highlighted the serious risks for the future sustainability of the world and for the international security. The harmony between environment and humanity has been altered by wild industrialization and irresponsible consumption, requesting an immediate reaction. Just for this reason, the rising price in energy and food, the environmental forced migration, desertification, greenhouse, conflicts and international tension over resources between different regions, necessitate an unbreakable engagement of the International Community. In this context, the members of the workshop individualized the role of the European Institutions in promoting a very sustainable development, that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". In other words, ensuring that today's growth does not jeopardise the growth possibilities of future generations.

On a political level, the European Institutions are called to establish an “Ecosocial Partnership” and to push for a “Global Deal”. According to the participants’ opinion, the “Ecosocial Partnership” has to be a permanent structure for discussing measures related to sustainable development, economic growth and social coherence[5], while the “Global Deal”, should be a coherent global agreement including all countries addressing environmental issues as well as social an distributional issues during the ongoing climate negotiations[6].

On a social level, the members of the workshop also emphasized the necessity of a reaction  of the EU Institutions  and of the civil society, that have to  be translated in concrete actions based on solidarity. In particular, they felt that citizens of Europe must commit themselves to act responsibly “reviewing their lifestyle and reducing their carbon footprint”[7] in order to contribute to a sustainable development. For this reason, the members of European society asked to the EU Institutions more measures: investments in public transport, green social housing, low energy alternative and basic public services. However these actions must be accompanied by a fair and efficient transition to a low carbon economy, through planning, education, training and targed support to civil society organizations.

On an economic level, the participants also called the EU Insitutions to work towards traceability instruments for products having regard to their climate impact and compliance with social standards across the life cycle. This measure has as task to allow responsible consumer’s behaviour and to orient product innovation. They also asked the European Commission to consider trade instruments integrating the costs of compliance with international agreement in the price of imports, to ensure the respect of a sustainable process of productions[8]. 

The discussion was very heat about the legislative package, proposed by the European Commission in February 2008, 20 20 by 2020, Europe climate change opportunity, that contains a series of targets to mitigate the impact of climate change. In particular, the participants have discussed the  reduction of greenhouse gases, that the European Commission found opportune to fix  at  20% in by 2020 – rising to 30% if there is an international agreement. The participants, in spite of this target,  exhorted the EU  governemnts to committ themself to a binding emission reduction target of 30% below 1990 levels by 2020[9] also without an international agreement.


The final question was: will the EU listen to their citizens?




Impact of Climate Change mitigation measures on indigenous people and on their territories and lands
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people




Sara Dienstbier, Enza Dammiano

Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”



[1] Paragraph 8 of the Final Text on Solidarity - Agora on Climate Change 2008 (EN)

[2] Ivi par. 4

[3] ivi par.14

[4] ivi par.11 

[5] Ivi par.17

[6] Ivi par. 16

[7] Ivi par. 1

[8] Ivi par. 13

[9] Ivi par.3