As energy transition issues raise questions of human rights not being upheld at the local level, this session co-organized by OHCHR, WHO, ISHR, 2050Today, Franciscans International, and the Geneva Environment Network aims to strengthen the relationship between clean energy, health and the respect of human rights towards Sustainable Development. This event is part of the 23rd edition of the European Energy Transition Conference, taking place from 31 May to 2 June 2022.

About this Session

Energy transition issues also raise questions of human rights not being upheld at the local level. Geneva, home of various international bodies and organizations is where some of these conversations are held. In consultations with local communities and defenders on the ground, we need to identify the problems and challenges that any energy transition poses for people’s rights, such as access to healthcare, sanitation, clean water, land rights, as well as access to information, to public participation and the respect of full prior informed consent (FPIC), in particular on the lands of Indigenous Peoples.

This session will discuss the importance of ensuring Human Rights while transitioning towards clean energy. Human Rights Council resolutions on the “Human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment” (48/13) and “Recognizing the contribution of environmental human rights defenders to the enjoyment of human rights, environmental protection and sustainable development” (40/11) and other policy developments instruments can help inform discussions on what to consider when starting a clean energy project.

The event will see the participation of experts as well as of environmental human rights defenders who will speak about their lived experiences to enhance a better understanding of the situation on the ground.

Desired Outcomes

  • Point out that to achieve a just transition towards a zero-carbon economy human rights are a key element to be respected.
  • Remind how the transition to clean energy contributes to the realization of human rights, saving millions of lives and preventing diseases and disabilities on a large scale.
  • Highlight that the transition towards renewable energy sources is an opportunity to address serious socio-economic and human rights issues including gender, food security, access to clean drinkable water, public health, education, youth’s and women’s empowerment, but when misconceived it becomes a threat to human rights.  Abuses linked to renewable energy projects are unfortunately increasing.
  • Highlight how a “sustainable transition” fails if, in the process, human rights are abused and defenders attacked.



Sustainable Environmental Management Specialist, OHCHR


Technical Lead on Energy and Health, WHO


Associate Expert in Legal Affairs, Aarhus Convention Secretariat, UNECE


FIlipino Environmental Defender of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment

Rodrigo PERET

Brazilian Franciscan Brother, Pastoral Land Commission of Uberlândia | Franciscans International


Regional Coordinator, Environmental Law and Governance, UNEP Europe Office | Moderator


This event will take place in a hybrid format, both in-person and virtually. In person participation is open to those attending the EU Energy Transition Conference and external visitors. To confirm your in-person participation, kindly register by Friday 27 May 2022 at the latest via this Google form.

For online participation, kindly register on the Webex platform.


In addition to the live WebEx and social media transmissions, the video of the event will be available on this webpage.



Unsplash | Prashanth Vishwanathan (IWMI), Karnal State District | 13 Nov 2014