COP22: Toward a Global Declaration of Ethical Principles in Relation to Climate Change

When, local time: 
Friday, 11 November 2016 -
1:00pm to 2:30pm
Morocco, Marrakech
Type of Event: 
Category 7-Seminar and Workshop
Pedro Monreal Gonzalez,

UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Programme will organize a day of panel discussions in the context of the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), taking place in Marrakech, Morocco, from 7 to 18 November 2016. The panel discussions will take place throughout the day on 11 November 2016 in the UNESCO Pavilion.

This panel will present and explain the ongoing work of developing global consensus and formulating ethical principles in a new declaration on climate change. It will also draw links with the work of COP22.

UNESCO has gained a leading role at the UN level and globally in promoting ethical science – science which brings progress for the benefit of all, protects the planet from ecological collapse and constitutes a solid basis for peaceful cooperation among peoples. Through the work of its consultative organs – the International Bioethics Committee (IBC, created in 1993); the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC, 1998); and the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST, 1998) – UNESCO has deepened its reflection on the role of science, technology and innovation in sustainable development, and on equitable and inclusive social development. UNESCO has already published several COMEST reports and statements concerning the ethical dimensions of climate change.

From 20 to 24 September 2016, the Kingdom of Morocco hosted the First Meeting of UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) for the elaboration of a preliminary text of a declaration on ethical principles in relation to climate change. This group of 24 internationally renowned experts worked on a first draft which was circulated to Member States in October 2016. Some of the experts will participate in this COP22 panel discussion.

In November 2015, UNESCO’s General Conference, at its 38th session, mandated the Organization to prepare such a preliminary text of a non-binding declaration on ethical principles in relation to climate change.

COP21 succeeded in delivering the universal breakthrough of the Paris Agreement. All countries committed to action on climate change, according to their own commitments at the national level. The voluntary character of these contributions entails the need of a universal framework that would lay emphasis on each country’s ultimate commitments vis-à-vis humankind. Such a grounding framework is essentially a global consensus on ethical principles. The new declaration aims to clarify and reaffirm this consensus. As such, it may clarify universally accepted principles to mobilize and coordinate action across cultures and societies.