EDITORIAL ANALYSIS – COP26: THE CLIMATE CRISIS AND THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT – L Dweba

COP26 Final

EDITORIAL ANALYSIS – COP26: THE CLIMATE CRISIS AND THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT – L Dweba

One of the GIA’s priorities is political accountability for conflict prevention and sustainable peace. The organisation makes as much noise as possible in order to keep governments accountable for failing to do their fair bit in protecting vulnerable populations from all forms of suffering.  Political actors usually find it easier to simply shift responsibility elsewhere while hiding behind ‘collective responsibility’.

The concept of collective responsibility is not some western or colonial rhetoric.  It stems from a political commitment made by heads of state and government at the UN World Summit in 2005.  This commitment is aimed at preventing and halting four mass atrocity crimes, namely genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing.  However, it is important to note that individual governments’ responsibility to care for their citizens is not diminished by this principle. 

Instead, on their own accord, the heads of state and government agreed that governments have the primary responsibility to protect populations within their borders from atrocity crimes. They further agreed that the international community should help states build the capacity to uphold this responsibility and that when a state is unwilling or manifestly failing to do so, the international community must be prepared to take timely and decisive collective action in accordance with the UN Charter.

Therefore, governments should not act as though taking responsibility for their citizens is a surprise to them.  When forced migrants cross their country’s borders to seek refuge in another country, the country of origin gets a breather, knowing that their responsibility to protect has been transferred to another government.  Before transferring their obligation under the misconstrued concept of collective responsibility, states should do more to fulfil their individual commitments to alleviate human suffering, including those exacerbated by climate situations.

The GI ADVISORY is a research-based security firm, whose primary purpose is to contribute to safer communities and world order. 

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1 Comment

  1. Precious - November 5, 2021 Reply

    It is no secret that when strong accountability is enforced, everyone benefits. This is indeed very informative.

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