Mary Robinson delivers Keynote Address on Business, Finance and Cities: Climate Action for Paris at ODI Global Challenges Event

Looking ahead to the upcoming climate agreement in Paris, the event on 20 March addressed questions around how non-state actors respond to the climate change challenge, and what role they can play in addressing the issue.

Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, delivered the keynote address at the event. Raising the need for co-operation and partnerships between the public and private sector as well as civil society, Mary Robinson asked the audience to consider how these partnerships can be expanded to include those people in the most vulnerable situations – who often do not have a voice in international fora, but are most affected by the impacts of climate change, even though they are least responsible for it.

She stated:

“In moving away from business-as-usual we have an opportunity to eradicate extreme poverty, ensure access to clean energy for all and achieve equitable access to sustainable development. To deliver this action on the scale and in the timeframe required to avoid dangerous climate change, all stake holders – including national and local governments, municipalities, business, civil society and local communities – must find new ways of working together. We must ensure that all people in all countries are able to take part in the transition to zero carbon and zero poverty.”

Challenging listeners to move away from “business as usual” in order to achieve a zero-carbon, zero poverty future, defined by a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are realised, Mary Robinson concluded her speech by saying:

“I challenge each of you, individually and collectively, to foster a generation of business people that kick start a new way of doing business that is fair, upholds human rights, builds resilience in all societies and includes all people in the transition to low carbon development.”

Mary Robinson’s keynote address was followed by a panel discussion and an extensive Q & A session.

Panellists included

  • Arunabha Ghosh – Chief Executive Officer, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), India
  • Yacob Mulugetta – Professor of Energy and Development Policy at the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering & Public Policy (STEaPP), University College London (UCL)
  • Ian Simm – Chief Executive Officer, Impax Asset Management
  • Namita Vikas – Senior President & Chief sustainability Officer, YES BANK
  • Shelagh Whitley – Research Fellow, Climate and Environment, ODI

The GlobalChallenges event was organised by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London on 20 March 2015.

Related Links

Mary Robinson’s Keynote Address at ODI Global Challenges Event 20 March

Zero Carbon, Zero Poverty – The Climate Justice Way

ODI GlobalChallenges Event: Business, finance and cities: climate action for Paris

MRFCJ Position Paper: Human Rights and Climate Justice