Global Humanitarian Forum
Leadership for Copenhagen
01 August 2009
"We all are an agent for change. Letâs act from today", was the general consensuses that emerged from the discussion held during the second annual meeting of the Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF), held from 23 to 24 June 2009 in Geneva. GHF's second annual meeting focused on climate change to call for public action to protect citizens, especially the poor and vulnerable people.
A number of leaders from global humanitarian and development agencies participated in the cross-disciplinary debate, and confirmed their commitment to alleviating the significant human and social consequences of climate change: "We all should immediately start playing our own roles considering the challenge at hand".
The participants also urged world leaders to put in place a new framework for reducing carbon emissions at the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Copenhagen in December.
About sixty volunteers from ICVolunteers worked to help organising the conference.
GHF was launched by Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), and Swiss Foreign Minister and then President, Micheline Calmy-Rey in Geneva in 2007. The Forum intends to be an independent and impartial global platform where different members of the global society collaborate in order to address key humanitarian concerns.
For its 2009 meeting, GHF chose to consider "the human impact of climate change". In view of the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference, the Forum was meant to urge global leaders to ensure the meeting in Copenhagen to be a turning point towards change, the beginning of fundamental changes in our lives, economy and society to prevent negative impacts of climate change on human beings.
During the two day forum, various conceptual and practical issues related to climate change were discussed.
One of the major values of the Forum is that it is meant to provide cross-sectorial discussions by leaders representing a wide range of constituencies, including UN agencies, non-profit organizations and the private sector. Presidents of Timor-Leste and Guyana spoke about climate change and its impact on their countries. Representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF looked at the specific consequences of climate change on global health and the generations to come.
Some important common issues arose from Focus Sessions and Workshops:
Some conference participants presented their personal experiences. At the individual level, a representative of a youth group from Canada talked about her involvement in giving a voice to the youth of the world to talk about climate change in their own languages, not just in English or French. At the country level, delegates from the Philippines and Bangladesh introduced their national programmes to challenge climate change.
Posted: 2009-8-16 Updated: 2011-10-07