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Roza Aknazarova (MP, Kyrgyzstan), Chair of the OSCE PA's Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, speaks on 4 October. (courtesy of the Swiss Parliament/Fabio Chironi)Roza Aknazarova (MP, Kyrgyzstan), Chair of the OSCE PA's Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, speaks on 4 October. (courtesy of the Swiss Parliament/Fabio Chironi)GENEVA, 4 October 2014 – Climate change and the connections between environment and technology took center stage on day two of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Autumn Meeting, which has brought together some 200 parliamentarians from more than 50 nations in Geneva this week.

In opening the day's session, Roza Aknazarova (MP, Kyrgyzstan), Chair of the OSCE PA's Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, highlighted the links between climate change and security and the particular toll taken on low-lying and mountainous countries.

She urged delegates to bring a call to action home to their national parliaments ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015:

"We must ensure that pledges [to mitigate climate change] -- whether they are made today, tomorrow, or next year -- are followed by a concrete plan of action to avoid repetition of unsuccessful negotiations in Copenhagen [at the UN Climate Change Conference] five years ago," she said.

Keynote speakers Keith Krause of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva; Theodor Winkler, Director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces; and Desiree Schweitzer, Deputy Coordinator for Economic and Environmental Affairs of the OSCE all spoke ahead of the debate, which featured interventions by some two dozen parliamentarians from nearly 20 countries.

Artashes Geghamyan, the Head of Armenia's Delegation to the OSCE PA, underscored the risk of "using environmental resources as arms" and called on the Assembly to recognize that "we are all in the same big boat" when it comes to resource-management and environmental risk-reduction.

Nilza Sena (MP, Portugal), the Vice-Chair of the OSCE PA's Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, noted that "exposure to the risks and effects of ecological disasters can also be understood as a situation of human rights violation," such as when communities are forced to leave their homes.

"Environmental displacement, especially between states, is a lacuna in international law, which may receive an important contribution from the OSCE and all its member states," Sena added.

The Portuguese parliamentarian also referred to the use of mobile phones and social media to document and monitor human rights violations, noting that countries should take better advantage of such technology to track environmental risks and their impact.

Hedy Fry (MP, Canada), the OSCE PA's Special Representative on Gender Issues, also highlighted the impact of climate change and environmental disaster on human rights and the fact that women and children are particularly vulnerable.

She also noted that environmental degradation can lead to opportunities for non-state actors to undermine the authority of governments, with broader security and economic implications. Environmental protection, she concluded, should be considered a key component of overall good governance.

Other topics discussed during the debate included economic interconnectedness within the OSCE area, the importance of investing in alternative sources of energy and economic factors behind the changing nature of conflict.

The OSCE PA's three-day Autumn Meeting is the final major gathering of the Assembly this year.

Day one featured an opening keynote address by OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter (read more here: http://www.oscepa.org/news-a-media/press-releases/1958-ukraine-in-focus-as-osce-chair-in-office-opens-osce-pa-autumn-meeting) as well as a parliamentary debate on the crisis in Ukraine (read more here: http://www.oscepa.org/news-a-media/press-releases/1959-osce-parliamentarians-debate-ukraine-crisis-at-autumn-meeting).

The Autumn Meeting concludes on 5 October with keynote speeches and debate on human dimension issues.

For the full programme, speeches, photos and additional information about the Meeting, visit: http://www.oscepa.org/meetings/autumn-meetings/2014-geneva

The Meeting is being STREAMED LIVE on www.oscepa.org.