UNESCO Member States Adopt Declaration of Ethical Principles in Relation to Climate Change
Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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The Declaration of Ethical Principles in Relation to Climate Change aims to help governments, the private sector and civil society mobilize around shared values on climate change.

It includes principles relating to prevention of harm, the precautionary approach, equity and justice, sustainable development, solidarity, and scientific knowledge and integrity in decision making.

13 November 2017: During the 39th session of the General Conference of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), taking place in Paris from 30 October to 14 November 2017, UNESCO’s 195 Member States adopted a Declaration of Ethical Principles in Relation to Climate Change.

The Declaration aims to help governments, the private sector and civil society mobilize around shared values on climate change. It warns that, unless ethical principles become the basis of climate action, both climate change and responses to it could lead to “unacceptable damage and injustice.”

The Declaration is a reflection of international cooperation on climate change through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular SDG 13 (climate action), and the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.

The Declaration includes principles relating to prevention of harm, the precautionary approach, equity and justice, sustainable development, solidarity, and scientific knowledge and integrity in decision making. It also includes provisions on the principles’ application in relation to, inter alia: science, technologies and innovations; risk assessment and management; vulnerable groups; education; public awareness; responsibility; and international cooperation.

The Declaration provides for its promotion and dissemination by UNESCO. It also contains provisions on interrelation and complementarity of the principles, denial of acts contrary to human rights and denial of reinterpretation of the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Declaration is the result of nine years of work by the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST). It is also a reflection of international cooperation on climate change through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 (climate action), and the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. [Declaration of Ethical Principles in Relation to Climate Change] [UNESCO Press Release] [COMEST Webpage]


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