Thursday, September 23, 2010

Climate change, Sustainable Development and Human Rights

It seems that the former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, is re-inventing herself once again. When she was offered the job of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights some years ago, she decided to quit her current job (as President of Ireland) early and go on to higher things. In the intervening years she has made her presence felt in various other areas. Now, however, it has been announced that Robinson is coming back to Ireland to chair a ‘non-profit foundation that aims to foster Irish and international leadership on climate change and sustainable development.’ She is quoted as saying that she is ‘absolutely passionate’ about her new venture. The main purpose of the foundation will be ‘to ensure that human rights are at the heart of the climate change agenda.’ She also said
‘I’d rather not have the icon of a polar bear prancing on the ice, but a poor indigenous woman in sub-Saharan Africa’[...] ‘I feel we’ve got the debate on climate change completely wrong. The leadership to date has been provided by environmentalists and scientists… But there has been no human-centred approach to the issue.’
Robinson's biography states that, in Ireland:
‘By the end of the 1980s, Mary Robinson had won every liberal campaign medal there was. A new generation was living comfortably within the freer society she had helped introduce; the older generation had begun to accept that the sky, after all, wouldn’t fall.’
Robinson has been to the forefront in promoting contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexuality. Her desire to introduce abortion into Ireland was well known (She)
‘would make abortion available in this country [i.e. Ireland] in limited circumstances. … It would be healthier to be more mature about ourselves, more honest. Even for a country that regrets and feels a great sense of loss at the termination of life, it would be a preferable situation. It would be a kind of coming to terms with the problem, instead of exporting it and moralising about it.’
I cannot therefore but be concerned about the possible thrust of this new initiative, I wonder if she is thinking that abortion might be a ‘solution’ to the ‘problems’ of the ‘poor indigenous woman in sub-Saharan Africa’, or, indeed, for the environment generally.

The international advisory council of the new foundation includes Richard Branson (we know his credentials with regard to the promotion of contraception, etc); the former WHO (World Health Organisation) director general Gro Harlem Brundtland; the former US vice-present Al Gore; and the former EU commissioner Margot Wallstrom.

Now, there’s a fine collection of people to advise us!