From 6-16 June 2022, Alexandra Masako Goossens-Ishii of SGI participated in the fifty-sixth meeting of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB56) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. As part of the Working Group on Human Rights and Climate Change and the Education, Communication and Outreach Stakeholders (ECOS) Steering Committee, she particularly followed issues relating to public participation and Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE). Additionally, she advocated for states to adopt an ambitious new ACE Action Plan at the upcoming 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), which would include activities that promote rights-based implementation of the Paris Agreement and capacity-building activities.
In this context, Goossens-Ishii was invited to participate in two side events related to ACE. At the first event, which focused on strengthening the Paris Rulebook through law and governance, she offered insights into the current state of ACE negotiations from a rights-based perspective and highlighted the need for activities that encourage more actions harnessing the power of education and training. She also addressed the need to base awareness-raising on inspiring hope. In the second event, Goossens-Ishii facilitated a panel discussion organized by the ACE Observatory.
Lastly, Goossens-Ishii co-organized and facilitated a side event on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) together with other faith-based organizations including Bread for the World, the Lutheran World Federation, ACT Alliance and Brahma Kumaris, which has been adopted as part of the Paris Agreement to enhance adaptation to climate change. Reverend James Bhagwan, Secretary General of the Pacific Council of Churches, began the event via a video message, in which he shared a stark reality: even with adaptations to climate change, many Pacific islands have already reached a point of no return. The urgent need for adaptation to climate change all over the world was a focal point for several of the subsequent speakers, including Patricia Nying'uru, the IPCC Focal Point for Kenya and the G77 Science and review coordinator; Frode Neergaards, Lead Negotiator on Adaptation and Loss and Damage for Denmark; Adriana Vasquez from La Ruta del Clima; and Khulekani Magwaza from the Lutheran World Federation South Africa. Jamie Williams from Islamic Relief noted that, for regions where adaptation is no longer possible, financial support for loss and damage is needed. Finally, Ian Fry, the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change, asserted that States should approach climate change issues through the lens of human rights—namely the right to life, food, water, sanitation, health and an adequate standard of living.