From the TUC

Durban diary 2: Oil state Qatar to host next climate conference?

29 Nov 2011, by in Environment

UN Climate Change Conference, DurbanI’m here in Durban, taking part in an open debate with the South African miners’ union, the NUM, on a post-coal future when news comes through on where the UN will stage next year’s climate conference. How about Qatar, notorious for its violations of workers’ rights?

It’s difficult to imagine a more crass way to handle this. ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said:

“Huge economic transformation is needed to tackle climate change. This massive task can only be achieved if working people’s rights are respected. It cannot be simply imposed from above.

Qatar has an appalling record of ignoring workers’ rights, especially migrants, and the decision to hold next year’s climate summit there sends a totally wrong message and risks delaying vital action.

Either Qatar must move urgently to implement labour laws in line with international standards, or another host country should be found for the COP18 talks.”

The decision to hold the COP18 Conference in Qatar was taken today in Durban by the UNFCCC, on the eve of the COP17 Conference, which involves 194 governments and a wide range of civil society organisations, including more than 250 trade union representatives from around the world.

Meanwhile, the Africa group of nations has told the UN today it will not allow African soil to be the graveyard for the Kyoto Protocol. The ITUC wants the KP to continue, but preferably without insulting basic human and labour rights.