Workshop aims to ensure rights of vulnerable groups amid climate change

Impacts of climate change on the enjoyment of rights of vulnerable groups were discussed at a workshop jointly held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Hanoi on July 29.

Addressing the event, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Do Hung Viet underlined that climate change and devastating extreme weather conditions have posed adverse, direct and deep impacts on people’s full enjoyment of rights, especially among vulnerable groups.

As one of the countries that have been hardest hit by climate change, with the motto of placing people at the centre, Vietnam has paid special attention to ensuring human rights during climate change response, focusing on institutionalising contents of relevant international treaties to which Vietnam is a signatory, said Hung, who is also Director of the Department of International Organisations.

He added that Vietnam has joined key groups in the UN Human Rights Council in promoting annual resolutions related to climate change and human rights, especially among vulnerable groups. This was a priority of Vietnam at the council in the recent past, and especially when the country is running for a seat in the council in the 2023-2025 tenure, said Viet.

He highlighted that Vietnam’s determination and efforts in settling negative impacts of climate change and promoting international cooperation in the field through realising commitments made at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) and implementing commitments of international conventions that Vietnam has joined.

Viet also affirmed Vietnam’s consistent policies on protecting and promoting human rights and the country’s endeavours in realising commitments to fundamental freedom rights, including the right to participation and information, transparency, accountability, equality and non-discrimination in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

For her part, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pauline Tamesis hailed Vietnam’s commitments and efforts in observing and promoting human rights amid climate change, including the net-zero emission commitment, and promises given while running for a seat at the UN Human Rights Council.

The UN agencies in Vietnam is willing to assist the country in realising the commitments, she stressed.

Tamesis pointed to three factors that need to be focused on, including an approach to climate change on the basis of putting human rights at the centre of solutions, the engagement of all social classes in the work, and the education of human rights in all development areas.

Kanni Wignaraja, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, welcomed Vietnam's determination to realise the dual goal of becoming a high-income country by 2045 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, during which the people have always been put at the centre and human rights are ensured.

She stressed the need to listen to the voice of most vulnerable groups, which is an important factor in implementing climate change adaptation activities at the local level.

Wignaraja affirmed that the UNDP is committed to strongly supporting the Vietnamese Government in developing policies on adaptation and response to climate change and environmental policies in line with international standards on human rights.

At the workshop, ambassadors of countries and representatives of international organisations in Vietnam shared experience and good practices in responding to climate change and ensuring the rights of vulnerable groups, as well as their views on the matter and recommendations in the field.

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