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In this 2019 report (A/74/161), the Special Rapporteur illustrates the devastating effects of the current global climate emergency on the enjoyment of human rights, and the crucial role for human rights in catalysing action to address climate change.


The Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, Mr. David R. Boyd, provides additional clarity regarding the substantive obligations relating to a range of elements that are essential to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. Building upon his predecessor’s report on climate change and human rights, Mr. Boyd has prepared a thematic report in which he discusses the urgent need for action to ensure a safe climate for humanity.

Conclusions of the report

The Special Rapporteur concludes that a safe climate is a vital element of the right to a healthy environment and is absolutely essential to human life and well-being.

He suggests that all States should prepare rights-based deep decarbonization plans, intended to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 19, of the Paris Agreement. He makes practical recommendations across four main categories of actions:

  1. Addressing society’s addiction to fossil fuels
  2. Accelerating other mitigation actions
  3. Enhancing adaptation to protect vulnerable people
  4. Ramping up climate finance

Annex on good practices

The report was submitted with an Annex on good practices (A/74/161) related to ensuring a safe climate. These good practices demonstrate that effective actions are available to address both climate change and protect human rights at the same time. Drawn from every continent and featuring more than 60 States and a wide range of actors, these good practices are intended to inspire ambitious action to address the global climate emergency.

Preparation of the report

To prepare the report A/74/161, the Special Rapporteur held consultations in Geneva with civil society on 6 March 2019, with Geneva Pledge States on 7 March 2019, with SIDS on 8 March 2019, and with States, international organizations and other stakeholders on 21 June 2019.

These consultations complemented a call for inputs on climate change and human rights, circulated on 8 April 2019 ( English | French | Spanish).

Submissions to the questionnaire are now available