Thursday, November 16th was Climate Justice Day at COP23. I had the privilege to attend multiple events that focused on the effects of climate change on the vulnerable countries of the developing world, particularly the island states. With Fiji being the first small island developing state to hold the presidency of a COP, the issue of environmental justice has become even more prominent throughout this conference. Fiji’s leadership has brought attention to the small island developing states whose voices usually go unheard due to lack of representation. These nations contribute the least to climate change yet are most vulnerable to its effects, as they have less resources for adaptation.
Climate Justice Day also focused on the social and cultural dimensions of climate change and the human rights issue connected to it. Hearing from people from developing countries provided me with a different perspective on climate change. These people directly depend on the earth’s natural resources for survival in a way that is now distant to developed nations, giving them a greater appreciation for the environment. The current effects of climate change are already forcing them to confront the risks posed against their security and survival.
I was also able to attend a high level presidency event regarding the integration of human rights in climate action which sought to offer a people centered approach to climate change. This talk concluded solutions to climate change that were focused on improving the resilience of the most vulnerable countries and providing them with the resources necessary to adapt to its effects.