That climate change is worldwide affecting lives disrupting national economies, communities and countries is no longer a novelty, but the last warning even describes a “climate apartheid” scenario. We risk a situation where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict, while the rest of the world is left to suffer.

The last alarm has been launched by Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. In a report, released on June 25, 2019, Alston finds that climate change will have the greatest impact on people living in poverty, with dire threats not only to the environment, but also to democracy and human rights.

“Even under the best-case scenario of a 1.5°C temperature increase by 2100 – explains the UN Special Rapporteur – hundreds of millions will face food insecurity, forced migration, disease, and death”.

According to Alston, “A robust social safety net will be the best response to the unavoidable harms that climate change will bring”. “This crisis should be a catalyst for states to fulfil long ignored and overlooked economic and social rights, including social security and access to food, healthcare, shelter, and decent work”, the Special Rapporteur claims.

“Although some (states) have turned to the private sector for solutions, an over reliance on for-profit efforts would nearly guarantee massive human rights violations, with the wealthy catered to and the poorest left behind. If climate change is used to justify business-friendly policies and widespread privatisation, exploitation of natural resources and global warming may be accelerated rather than prevented”, Alston forecasts.

South East Asia is also vulnerable to climate change and Cambodia is not immune to the issue. Especially in the rural areas, many people are forced to migrate because of the lack of regular income, often due to the alternation of severe drought and floods periods. Sarom migrated the first time when she was 13 years old because her family didn’t have the money to survive. The severe dry seasons had affected her village in Siem Reap Province and Sarom would like to help her loved ones, finding a job in another country. To know more about Sarom’s story, read here.