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States must step up climate action now, before it is too late: UN expert

23 March 2023

GENEVA (23 March 2023) – States must take drastic action and accelerate climate ambitions without delay, in line with recommendations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN expert said today.

“I urge the big emitters to make more ambitious commitments ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit in September 2023,” said Ian Fry, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change.

Citing the latest IPCC report, Fry expressed deep concern about the rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.

“As stated by the IPCC, climate change has caused widespread adverse impacts and associated losses and damages to nature and people, which are unequally distributed,” he said.

"Climate change has a negative impact on human rights," the expert said. Fry argued that integrating human rights standards and principles into climate action would improve outcomes and empower the groups and peoples most affected. "As noted in the IPCC report, adaptation and mitigation actions that prioritise equity, social justice, climate justice, rights-based approaches and inclusiveness lead to more sustainable outcomes,” he said.

The Special Rapporteur welcomed the Acceleration Agenda presented by the UN Secretary-General on 20 March 2023, including his recommendations on phasing out fossil fuels and achieving net zero, and on scaling up climate finance.

In a report to the 2022 General Assembly, Fry proposed recommendations for the establishment of a Loss and Damage Financing Facility and the creation of a group of financial experts who can develop new, innovative and dramatically scaled-up sources of finance to contribute to the new fund.


Mr. Ian Fry is the first Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change. He was appointed by the Human Rights Council at its 49th session in March 2022 and started his mandate on 1 May 2022. Mr. Fry is an international environmental law and policy expert. His focus has primarily focussed on mitigation policies and loss and damage associated the Paris Agreement, Kyoto Protocol and related instruments. He worked for the Tuvalu government for over 21 years and was appointed as their Ambassador for Climate Change and Environment 2015-2019.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

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