Mary Robinson interview

  • See other interviews, sessions and speeches from Dublin

    Timings and topics can be found below the film.

    0.19  Inequality as one of the fundamental causes of the current state of the global economy. Global inequality and inequality within states. The willingness to have more redistributive policies seems to be weaker than it used to be.
    1.32 Political problems as a root cause of economic problems. Social contract between those governing and the governed seems to have weakened with the market-based economic drive which led to the financial collapse.
    2.53 Out of a global population of 7 billion people, 2.7 billion still cook on firewood, coal or animal dung and suffer from health problems as a result of the fumes ingested, 1.3 billion people don’t have electricity in their home and 1 billion people live on just US$1.25 a day.
    3.48 Improvements being made to poverty and living wage are being undermined by climate changes taking place now.
    3.59 Mary Robinson discusses the progress made in achieving The Millennium Development Goals (eight human rights goals to be achieved by 2015). Improvements have been uneven across the globe: African countries felt like they were set up to fail because they simply won’t achieve the goals. She comments on the possibility of eradicating world poverty will probably be achieved and the need, post 2015, to move to more sustainable development goals.
    5.35 Post 2015, the new panel should consider the increasing importance of rule of law and access to justice in human rights development, as well as improving sustainability and climate resilience.
    6.44 Robinson discusses the continued division between civil and political rights, and social economic rights. “Too often we treat economic and social rights as aspirations.”
    7.58 Businesses are doing more for human rights – having adequate due diligence procedures in place for example. John Ruggie’s work on Business and Human Rights and the UN Guiding Principles.
    9.26 Climate change and climate justice. Climate change is a huge human rights issue. It is  an intergenerational problem which is undermining the fight against poverty and is a gender issue because it primarily affects women in poverty.
    “What will our grandchildren and great grandchildren think of us?”
    10.42 Climate change has moved down the political agenda by banking bailouts, financial crisis etc – and by climate change deniers. The problem is that good science doesn’t deal in certainties and media representation is skewed by insistence on balance. The icons of climate change need to change: it should no longer be a melting glacier in the distance; it should be an indigenous woman who cannot put food on her table.
    11.56 Robinson offers her thoughts on the economic argument for action against climate change; International Energy Agency report: “delaying action is a false economy.”
    13.23 Discussion of the recent Durban summit which promised a climate change agreement by 2015. Positive if the alliance between LDCs, Europe and the small island states can hold together and make this a poor-country led approach.
    15.10 Mary Robinson Foundation and their work with the World Resources Institute.
    15.26 Canada hasn’t agreed to the Durban pledge. Its position on climate change due to shale gas extraction.
    15.46 Discussion of Hans Correll’s comment that the problem is the lack of an effective mechanism for accountability in international agreements, involvement of the UN Security Council and increasing issues of defence intelligence.
    16.32 Should the UN coordinate the distribution of climate change funds (this is currently the responsibility of the World Bank)? The $100bn fund in Durban has made progress in this regard but those people on the ground – the very poor, predominantly women – are not seeing any of that money.
    17.47 Robinson’s role as one of Nelson Mandela’s chosen ‘Elders’, with the mandate to solve some of the world’s most grave human rights problems. Is climate change on the agenda? Robinson discusses The Brundtland Commission and the Rio +20 debate on sustainable development.
    19.19 The Elders are concerned about a number of issues that relate to millennium development goals, for example, tackling child marriage.
    19.39 Robinson’s new book – Everybody Matters: A Memoir – attempts to give a more human perspective of human rights through her own experiences. ‘Everybody matters’ has a double meaning: everybody matters because of the UN Declaration of Human Rights but also because everyone can make a difference in the world.