The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges that the world is out of balance and integrated and systemic approaches are needed. Such approaches shall address the ‘intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet and need to be built on the conviction that everything in the world is connected’.
Solidarity is viewed as ‘the principle that the strength of a society is measured by the extent that its rich members support their vulnerable fellow citizens’. This clearly resonates with the problem presented by climate change where vast inequity exists in terms of capacity to adapt to and mitigate climate change, along with disparate contributions in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.
According to a report from an independent expert on human rights and international solidarity, poverty is one of the key components affecting the exposure of vulnerable people to the impacts of climate change. Both sudden onset natural disasters and slow onset events can seriously affect their access to food and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, health-care services and medicines, education and training, adequate housing and decent work.
The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities grounds each nation’s pledge under the Paris Agreement – known as the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). Under NDC, in relevance to human rights-based international solidarity, the developed countries should provide finance to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation, as well as technological support. The developed countries should take the lead in reducing emissions. Human rights-based international solidarity also demands that countries go further by tackling structural inequities connected to climate change.
The concept of solidarity presents a potential mechanism for the redistribution of resources and responsibilities within the global community so as to achieve a more equitable and justice-orientated response to climate change.
There is a need to implement systems that requires action on several fronts such as good governance and institution building, social protection and anti-poverty effort, investment on augmented capacity and resilient infrastructure, and sustainable resource management to continuously flatten the curve of COVID-19 and move the world’s sustainable agenda forward.
The future relies on solidarity which is about inclusion and development. In these trying times, uniting behind a common cause is the only way to go.