BY FRANCISCO MANUEL MATALLANA PACHECO, Reuters
Attending the United Nations Environmental Programme, Reuters News Agency was notified about the recent developments in rural Alaska. In the past few days, polar bears have begun attacking indigenous communities in the more desolated regions of the state of Alaska.
These events, though not impossible, have a relatively low probability of occurring, making the high frequency that they have seen in the past 48 hours especially troubling. It has been reported that numerous locals have required medical attention after suffering serious injuries in these encounters.
These encounters with polar bears come as a result of the continuous melting of the polar ice caps, a direct consequence of rising global temperatures. The damaging effect of greenhouse houses and carbon emissions have led to the degradation of this region, and consequently, the damaging of the polar bears’ habitats, and the delicate ecosystems that constitute them. The displacement of wildlife is a direct result of such changes in the environment.
Reuters approached the delegation of Korea for comments regarding what is currently unfolding in Alaska.
“We’ve been looking into adaptation mechanisms”, began the delegate, referring to her and her coalition within the committee, “and if this doesn’t work, we are going to use permanent relocation strategies”. The committee is currently engaged in contentious, yet productive and progressive, talks and discussions regarding the displacement of human populations in these regions.
“We are also trying to give special focus on animal protection; given that this is a U.N. Environment Programme, we think this is really important as well”. A facet of UNEP’s function does include the protection and conservation of wildlife as well, as populations are equally susceptible to rapid environmental changes. The numerous polar bear population is also a central issue being discussed in the committee.
Further, the delegations in UNEP, among them the Republic of Korea, have stated that they are pushing for an “Ecosystem Based Disaster Risk Reduction”. The implications of this program, aimed to establish realistic and definite parameters on the damages that could be done on the environment, are being redirected and tailored to quickly suit the rapid climate changes that the arctic region is experiencing. Korea’s “Adaptation Mechanisms” have served as a pathway for other delegations, and their propositions and programs, to be integrated and put forth on a viable, proportional, and efficient solution to manage—and to certain extents suppress—the dire effects of the present issue.
Additionally, the “Adaptation Mechanisms” include guidelines on internal displacement. This encompasses a “Capacity Building Program” for the “Disaster Risk Reduction”, in order to involve the affected communities. These different programs or “pilot projects” will be tested in the local communities to find the best and most efficient fit to counteract the effects of polar bear presence.
The recent polar bear attacks come as a reminder to many delegations at UNEP of the dire need to counterattack the effects of climate change, and its consequences in the displacement of populations.