The Impact of Climate Change on the Rights of Older Persons

The adverse effects of climate change have a broad range of negative human rights impacts.  These impacts fall more heavily on those who are already in vulnerable situations, owing to factors such as geography, poverty, gender, age, indigenous or minority status, national or social origin, birth or other status and disability.

Older persons, including particularly older persons with disabilities and older women, are among those most affected by climate-related harms such as the increasing spread of vector-borne diseases, heat stress, and the increasing frequency and intensity of sudden- and slow-onset disasters which can impact their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

At the same time, older persons possess vast reserves of knowledge, experience and resilience, making their participation, inclusion, and leadership key to human rights-based global efforts to adapt to and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

Activities, events and reports

OHCHR is undertaking the following activities as a part of its work on the human rights of older persons in the context of climate change:

  • Analytical study on the rights of older persons in the context of climate change (2021)
  • Human Rights Council panel discussion on the adverse impact of climate change on the full and effective enjoyment of human rights by older persons and best practices and lessons learned in the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons (47th Session)

Analytical study on the rights of older persons in the context of climate change

In its Resolution 44/7, the Human Rights Council requested that OHCHR, with the input of States and other stakeholders, prepare a “study on the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons in the context of climate change, including their particular vulnerabilities, such as physical and mental health risks, and their contributions to efforts to address the adverse impact of climate change.”

To inform the report, OHCHR has transmitted a Note Verbale [English | Français] and Questionnaire [English | Français] to Member States, NGOs, UN Agencies, IGOs, Academic Institutions and NHRIs, inviting them to respond to the questionnaire and provide input. Inputs are requested by 31 December 2020 and will be made available below.