An independent Policy Advisor, Douglas Rasbash has advised Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that they act as bridge between research institutions and the population (communities). They therefore should be promoting accountability through example, as a strategy to ensure quality and transparency for participation of diverse actors.
He said this while presenting during a CSO consultative workshop in preparation for the forthcoming Conference of Parties (COP) 22 in Marrakech where the world is to meet from the 7th to the 18th November to discuss climate change.
“ CSOs have a long history of support and joint work with governments in disaster response, including those caused by climate events, roles ranging from fund raising from international cooperation agencies to technical assistance and development of pilot measures for scaling-up. The experience of the relationship between CSOs and governments is a resource that should be capitalized on as part of climate change adaptation,” said Rasbash. He said Climate change vulnerability is determined not only by exposure to climate events, but also by social or institutional assets within a determined society.
He defined the Civil Society as the, “aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens; includes the family and the private sphere, referred to as the “third sector” of society, distinct from government and business.”
The CSOs he said should be improving the population’s access to climate information; and giving voice to the most vulnerable groups. They must ensure acknowledgment of the high vulnerability of these groups in public policy, through advocacy processes. They should be promoting inclusivity for both mitigation and resilience building and actively participating in inter-institutional local coordination as well as at national levels.
It is therefore given, that they deserve training for the sake of improving the understanding and assessment of risks and vulnerabilities associated with sudden onset disasters; assessing the potential for planned relocation; reviewing existing policy and legal frameworks, in particular in relation to cross-border displacement following natural disasters, and identifying possible ways to strengthen these frameworks and to integrate good practices from other countries.
Strengthening further the capacity of key institutions and actors to address these issues at the national and local levels should also be their assignment.
“They should raise the awareness of communities and key institutions regarding risks, rights and relevant support mechanisms as well as supporting adaptation through improved environmental management in areas exposed to degradation so as to limit the pressure to migrate out of those areas,”
He advised that United Nations agents like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) should promote community participation in natural resource management by pursuing a national Sustainable Development pathway; enhancing national capacity to respond to climate change; addressing energy poverty: promoting renewable energy uptake; Promoting inclusive biodiversity protection and management as well as improving efficiency in environmental decision making challenges and plans for the future.