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Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Poverty:


... hurricanes, coral bleaching, extreme heat, flooding, active ... Fragility of ecosystems (coral reefs, wetlands, fresh water, coasts, forests, soils) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Poverty:

Sustainable Development, Climate Change and
Poverty A Trade Union Response Helene
Davis-Whyte on behalf of the Caribbean Sub-region
Sustainable Development
  • development that meets the needs of
  • the present without compromising the
  • ability of future generations to meet
  • their own needs."
  • Sustainable development implies
  • economic growth together with the
  • protection of environmental quality,
  • each reinforcing the other.
  • The World Commission on Environment and
    Development (1987)

An important element
  • Sustainable development is a key cross-cutting
  • All aspects of our work and lives must be
    examined in the light and context of sustainable
  • Our national plans and development agendas must
    of necessity include the goal of sustainable

The Three Pillars
The Social Pillar
  • Social To have a sustainable future, the people
    must have equal and equitable access to their
    basic needs
  • Access to high quality medical care and social
    services, decent housing, food, sanitation
  • Peoples desire for as high a standard of living
    as possible must be achieved in a way that does
    not harm or exploit others.
  • i.e. Quality Public Services

The Economic Pillar
  • The generation of wealth through economic
    activity is necessary to attain a high standard
    of living.
  • Sustainable economies also need to be competitive
    and there must be fair distribution of wealth.
  • Products that are too expensive to purchase
    cannot be sustainable, even if they are
    environmentally friendly.

The Environmental Pillar
  • Sustainable human activities must strive to
    protect the earths environment to make sure it
    is not damaged for future generations.
  • Current issues include global warming climate
    change, over-fishing, pollution, deforestation,
    land use policies

International Recognition of Special
Circumstances of SIDS
  • Special circumstances and needs of Small Island
    Developing States must be considered

Impact of Climate Change on Small Island
Developing States (SIDS)
  • SIDS account for less than 1 of Green House Gas
    emissions but are among the most vulnerable to
    the potentially adverse effects of climate change
    and sea level rise.
  • The Caribbean is already experiencing the impact
    of climate change Multiple Category 5
    hurricanes, coral bleaching, extreme heat,
    flooding, active volcanoes, more earthquakes

more than half of the worlds population
currently live within 100 kilometres of the
coast, and by 2025 it is estimated that 6.3
billion persons, (75 of the worlds population)
will live in the coastal zone, in coastal mega
cities, and many living in poverty (UNESCO
SIDS - Observed Climate Trends
  • High Temperatures (mean annual values of 20C
    and above)
  • Annual average temperatures have increased by
    over O.5 for the period 1900-1995
  • Declining trend in average annual rainfall
  • Increasing numbers and intensity of tropical
    storms and cyclones (26 named storms in 2005)
  • Sea-level rise (10 SIDS are approx. 1 metre above
    sea-level. Sea level rise for the Caribbean is
    expected to be 30-50 cm over the next 50 years

Vulnerabilities of SIDS
  • Economic
  • Isolation from large markets limited or small
    internal markets
  • Limited commodities high dependence on imports
  • Small population ? lower tax base
  • High dependence on import duties
  • High vulnerability to external economic shocks

Vulnerabilities of SIDS (contd)
  • Social
  • Migration of workers
  • Increase in crime
  • Uneven distribution of wealth
  • Less investment in public health
  • Less investment on social services
  • Less investment on infrastructure (roads, public
    utilities )

Vulnerabilities of SIDS (contd)
  • Environmental
  • Small Size
  • High vulnerability to Natural Disasters
    (hurricanes, cyclones, drought, landslides,
    flooding, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes)
    hurricane season lasts for 6 months
  • Fragility of ecosystems (coral reefs, wetlands,
    fresh water, coasts, forests, soils)
  • Limited natural resources depletion of
    non-renewable resources

Climate change and SIDS Sectors Affected
  • Water Resources (change in soil moisture,
    siltation and contamination of water supplies)
  • Agriculture (reduction in soil moisture
    decrease in crop yield, sea water intrusion for
    coastal soils)
  • Fisheries (habitat loss)
  • Infrastructure Settlements More than 50 of
    people live and work within 2 km of the coast.
    (Caribbean SIDS are more vulnerable to and are
    more affected by natural disasters.)

Climate change and SIDS Sectors Affected
  • Tourism (largest contribution to GDP) hotels
    are destroyed by hurricanes, foreign investors
    leave after hurricanes
  • Human Health - (heat strokes, vectorborne
    diseases malaria, dengue, yellow fever)
  • Financial Sector (lends to debt creation and
    impact on ability to invest)

Selected Hurricanes in theCaribbean and their
impact 1988-2005
Grenada after Hurricane Ivan
Public Sector Unions concerns
  • Current model of development
  • is socially unfair
  • is environmentally unsustainable
  • excludes a large portion of the population,
  • increases economic disparities,
  • erodes workers hard won rights
  • worsens conditions for workers and their families
  • After 20 years of pro-privatisation policies, the
    world is neither a better nor a fairer place.
  • The gap between rich and poor has widened and 54
    countries are poorer than they were in 1990.
    There are many examples of privatisation failing,
    particularly in water and energy services. 
  • The sectors most affected are those which are
    vital to the economic and social development. For
    the most part they are public services

Our concerns
  • People in Caribbean countries are struggling to
    maintain their livelihoods. Trade liberalisation
    in particular has had a devastating effect on all
  • Storm damage to agricultural crops makes life
    even harder
  • Public services are in greater demand after a
    natural disaster (relief services, public health,
    utilities, infrastructure, housing)
  • Public sector workers have to be able to respond
    quickly in such situations in many cases
    leaving their own families while having to assist
  • Limited resources have to be re-directed
  • Urgent pressure to get economies back on track
    after a storm

The MDGs
  • Poverty Eradication
  • Universal Primary Education
  • Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women
  • Reduction of Child Mortality
  • Improvement in Maternal Health
  • Combating HIV/AIDS and Other Diseases
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Global Partnership for Development

Sustainable Development and the MDGs
  • 8 goals 18 targets 48 indicators of
  • First seven are mutually reinforcing, directed at
    reducing poverty
  • Last goal addresses framework needed to achieve
    the others
  • In the Caribbean context, some of the targets
    relating to specific goals will need to be
    modified to take account of the particular
    realities of the countries in the sub-region.
    This is particularly so in the case of primary
    education, gender equality and women's
    empowerment and environmental sustainability.

What Can Unions Do?
  • Environmentally sustainable development - not
    only technical matter but also an organisational
  • Therefore has to be undertaken by social
    partners, not only scientific bodies
  • Unions experience in negotiations, organising,
    collective bargaining and campaigning in areas
    such as human rights, womens rights, safety and
    health issues, etc equip unions for new
    consensus-forming process.

What Can Unions do?
  • Unions actions may be taken at 4 levels-
  • In unions
  • Educate members about linkages between
    sustainable development and their livelihoods.
    Include the topic in trade union
    courses/workshops ,
  • ensure that unions buildings and work practices
    meet standards of environmental sustainability
  • Workplace
  • include environmental issues in collective
    bargaining and in health and safety

What Can Unions Do?
  • National/ policy level
  • influence government/ national policies and
    monitoring their impact
  • Build alliances with community groups (nationally
    and regionally) that work on sustainable
    development issues
  • Be in genuine partnership and sit at the table
    with other members of civil society on
    sustainable development issues
  • Regional and International level
  • push for implementation of Action Plan 2002
    (this was developed at the World Summit of
    Sustainable Development)

Action Plan 2002
  • Poverty eradication
  • Changing unsustainable patterns of consumption
    and production
  • Protecting and managing the natural resource base
    of economic and social development
  • Sustainable development in a globalising world .
  • Health and sustainable development
  • Sustainable development of Small Island
    Developing States

Action Plan 2002
  • Sustainable development for Africa, Latin America
    and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, Europe
  • Means of implementation
  • Institutional framework for sustainable
  • Role of the General Assembly, Economic and Social
    Council,Commission on Sustainable Development,
    international institutions
  • Participation of major groups

Action Plan 2002
  • Biodiversity and fishing
  • drastically reduce the number of endangered
    species by 2010. Restore fish stocks by 2015.
  • Climate change
  • countries that have not yet ratified Kyoto
    Protocol to do so.
  • Trade, globalisation and the WTO
  • subsidies to be withdrawn from industries that
    are harmful to the environment.
  • need for consistency between environmental
    policies and the WTO.

Action Plan 2002
  • Water and sanitation
  • Halve the number of people who do not have access
    to safe drinking water or sanitation facilities
    by 2015.
  • Renewable energy
  • substantial increase in the proportion of
    renewable energy used.
  • Poverty
  • creation of a new international fund to eradicate
    poverty, with funding coming from voluntary

Things to think about
  • How can we sharpen our focus on sustainable
    development in the PSI policy programme?
  • How do we track our countries progress in
    achieving the MDGs by our countries?
  • How do we ensure that our unions are involved in
  • How do we work with NGOs on sustainable
  • How do we ensure that our members become agents
    of change in their communities?

Thank you! Any questions?
For copies of this presentation, please send an
email to Helene Davis-Whyte
m Dylan Reneau
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