Katowice Committee: Report examines opportunities, risks for vulnerable populations


A new report published this week by the UNFCCC Katowice Committee of Experts on the Impacts of the Implementation of Response Measures (KCI) sheds light on how climate policies can substantially boost opportunities for vulnerable populations, but can also create disproportionate risks, highlighting the need for a more inclusive approach to climate policy-making.

Established in 2018, the KCI is a constituted body that supports work to assess the impact of mitigation policies, programmes and actions taken to combat climate change by Parties under the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

The paper examines four key mitigation policies: carbon trading and energy efficiency, phase-out of coal, adoption of renewable energy, and forestry sector reforms. It analyses the potential positive and negative impacts of each policy on various vulnerable groups, including women, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, youth, the elderly, children, people with disabilities, and the poor.

“This paper fills a gap of limited studies quantifying and assessing the economic and social impacts of response measures on people in vulnerable situations,” write former KCI co-chairs Catherine Ann Goldberg and Peter Govindasamy in the report’s preface.

One of the report’s key findings is that people in vulnerable situations are often marginalized during the planning and implementation of climate policies. This lack of participation can lead to policies that have negative and unintended impacts for vulnerable groups.

For example, the report notes that while some mitigation policies, such as those promoting cleaner energy sources, have the potential to reduce women’s fuel-gathering activities and domestic burden, others may have adverse effects, like limiting women’s land tenure rights or their ability to participate in the workforce.

Similarly, local communities and Indigenous Peoples can be negatively impacted by renewable energy projects that disrupt their traditional practices or displace them from their land. However, these communities can also benefit from renewable energy projects that provide access to clean energy and create economic opportunities.

The report emphasizes the need for a more inclusive approach to climate policy-making. This entails actively engaging people in vulnerable situations throughout the design and implementation of climate policies. Stakeholder engagement at the national level and beyond is crucial to understanding the potential impacts on these groups.

“We trust that this report will serve to support countries’ understanding of the impacts of implementation response measures and inspire Parties in the direction of efforts needed to keep 1.5°C within reach,” write former KCI co-chairs Peter Govindasamy and Catherine Ann Goldberg.

The report also calls for further research to better quantify the impacts of climate policies on vulnerable populations. This research is essential for designing policies that minimize negative impacts and maximize positive ones.

The report concludes that by integrating a human rights-based approach into climate action, we can build a more sustainable future for everyone.

The KCI’s report is a valuable resource for policymakers, stakeholders, and anyone interested in ensuring a just transition to a low-carbon future. By understanding the potential impacts of climate policy-making on vulnerable populations, we can develop more effective and equitable solutions to tackle the climate crisis.




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