AIDA presents report at Durban linking climate change to decline of human rights in Latin America | Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) Skip to content Skip to navigation

AIDA presents report at Durban linking climate change to decline of human rights in Latin America


Calls for measures to protect the human rights of the most vulnerable communities.

Durban, South Africa – On Wednesday, December 7, 2011, the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) presented delegates at climate meetings in Durban, South Africa with a report detailing the negative effects of climate change on human rights to life, access to water, health, food, and housing for millions of people in Latin America.

“Climate change causes the greatest harm to the human rights of those who are least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions – vulnerable and historically disadvantaged communities such as peasant farmers, indigenous peoples, and the urban poor,” said AIDA staff attorney Jacob Kopas. “Governments disproportionately responsible for historical and current emissions have an international obligation to contribute more to lasting solutions.”

The most troubling of the impacts detailed by the report is a dramatic reduction in access to freshwater in Latin America. Increased melting of glaciers, degradation of high-mountain páramo wetlands, erratic weather patterns and severe droughts will limit dry-season access to water for up to 50 million people in the Tropical Andean region by 2050.

Other impacts include heavier rains and flooding, which affected 2.2 million people and caused $300 million of damages in Colombia alone in 2010, and the loss of 80% of Caribbean coral reefs due in large part to warming ocean temperatures and ocean acidification.

“The parties must understand that the climate change problem can no longer be ignored. We need to act now to help the world’s most affected communities cope with climate change by securing urgent yet attainable solutions like the Green Climate Fund here in Durban,” said AIDA attorney Andrés Pirazzoli, who distributed the report to delegates at the meeting. AIDA backs the Green Climate Fund, which would finance low-carbon technology adoption and adaptation programs in the developing world.

AIDA issued the report this week to inform an investigation by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the link between climate change and human rights. The report calls for a binding climate treaty and for the biggest emitters to pay for adaptation and mitigation measures in the developing world.

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