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OHCHR and climate change

Read about OHCHR's involvement in past UNFCCC and COP events here.

5 November 2019: Human Rights & Climate Change Dialogues

The Office co-organized the Geneva Dialogs on Human Rights, Climate Change, Land and Human Mobility together with the Center for International Environmental Law and EarthJustice, in partnership with the Platform on Disaster Displacement, FIAN and the Geneva Environment Network. The event comprised two expert roundtables, one on land and one on human mobility, followed by a public event where the main findings were shared. The day focused on the importance of a rights-based approach to land-related issues and human mobility in the context of climate change, discussing the protection gaps in these areas and the role of key intergovernmental processes and actors to address such gaps. The event built on the Climate Action Summit with a view to contribute to COP25. The concept note and programme for the event is available here.

6-7 October 2019: Integrating Human rights in National Climate Commitments and International Climate Negotiations

Jointly with the International Law and Human Rights Department, Directorate General of Foreign Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, OHCHR and the Center for International Environmental Law co-organized a two-day workshop and a high-level roundtable at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The workshop aimed at facilitating the exchange of experiences, good practices and lessons learned as well as supporting the development and dissemination of a blueprint for the integration of human rights in the planning of national climate commitments. The workshop focussed on developing guidance for how to implement human rights in climate commitments, including Nationally Determined Contributions. It also addressed the broader context of climate policy planning and built upon the lessons learned during an exploratory workshop held in Geneva in June 2019. Roughly 50 experts participated in the workshop representing around 20 governments, several national human rights institutions, UN partners, indigenous peoples and other key UNFCCC constituencies. The concept note for the workshop is available here.

17-18 September 2019: The Peoples' Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival

OHCHR co-organized The Peoples' Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival, in collaboration with Amnesty International, Greenpeace International, the Center for International Environmental Law, the Wallace Global Fund and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University. The Summit – which gathered roughly 200 non-governmental leaders and activists representing diverse strands of the climate justice movement from across the world – was organized in response to the urgent need for a new era of climate activism and to push for human rights-based solutions to the climate crisis. The Declaration emerging from the Summit calls for people's fundamental rights to be placed at the core of climate solutions. It calls for immediate, bold climate action by States, in respect of the common, but differentiated responsibilities that both countries and corporations have for emissions. It calls for finance and technology transfer to countries in the global south and for compensation to affected communities and individuals to address the loss and damage caused by the climate crisis. The Declaration calls for a just, fair and inclusive transition away from fossil fuels. It calls for the protection of indigenous peoples' rights and the promotion of local and traditional knowledge in addressing the climate crisis. Finally, the Declaration calls for access to justice and a safe and enabling environment for environmental human rights defenders. The Declaration, which has been signed by more than 400 organizations, is available here.

6 June 2019: 2019 Geneva Forum on climate change at the Human Rights Council – 10 years after the first resolution on Climate Change: Perspectives and Challenges

Jointly with the Center for International Environmental Law and EarthJustice - with the support of the Climate and Energy Fund of the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, OHCHR organized the 2019 Geneva Forum on climate change at the Human Rights Council. The Forum took the form of an open meeting aimed at reviewing the contributions of ten years of work on climate-related issues by the Human Rights Council and related processes, considering lessons learned and identifying opportunities for further engagement by the Council. More than 50 Member States attended the Forum, along with participants from civil society. Expert panellists included representatives from Member States, international organizations, academia and civil society. The output from the Forum included a summary report with the main findings and outcomes of the discussions aiming at informing future work in the area. The concept note and programme is available here.

3-4 June 2019: Integrating human rights in Nationally Determined Contributions – Expert Workshop

OHCHR co-organized the 2-day Workshop Integrating Human Rights in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) together with the Center for International Environmental Law and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. The workshop gathered around 45 experts, including representatives of 15 governments, as well as from international organizations, academia, national human rights institutions and civil society from around 30 countries. Plenary sessions covered: the legal framework for human rights obligations in climate action, principles for climate policymaking, experience sharing of integrating human rights in climate policies and NDCs. Breakout working groups discussed issues related to participation, gender equality, just transition and land-related issues in relation to the NDCs. The output from the workshop included a draft blueprint for integrating rights in NDCs that aims to feed into the process of updating States' NDCs by 2020. The concept note is available here.

2 March 2017: Building a Climate Change Literate Generation

Together with Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Fiji, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and UNESCO, OHCHR co-sponsored a side event to the 34th session of the Human Rights Council. The event explored different practices for raising children's awareness of climate change through education, direct participation and capacity-building. Read the concept note and OHCHR's statement to the panel.

1 March 2017: A human-rights based approach to the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement

OHCHR co-sponsored a side event to the 34th session of the Human Rights Council. The event considered the procedural and substantive nexus between the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and human rights instruments, examining how existing expert and peer review mechanisms mandated by the Human Rights Council and other UN bodies can strengthen accountability across these agreements. Read the concept note and OHCHR's statement to the panel.

6-7 October 2016: Expert Meeting on Climate Change and Human Rights

OHCHR hosted a two-day expert meeting on climate change and human rights bringing together States, civil society organizations, UN agencies and experts to consider the implications of recent State commitments, including in the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, related to human rights and climate change.