23 Jan 2019

Venue: International Environment House II (7-9 ch. de Balexert)

Organization: Geneva Environment Network

The Katowice Climate Change Conference took place from 2-15 December, 2018 in Katowice, Poland, and brought together over 22,000 participants. All the governing and subsidiary bodies for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement convened, and focused on the operationalization of the Paris Agreement.

About this Session

A briefing on the outcomes of the Katowice Climate Change conference, organized by the Geneva Environment Network Secretariat, in collaboration with the Geneva Climate Change Consultation Group (GeCCco) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, took place at the International Environment House on Wednesday 23 January. This event also addressed the links with processes ongoing in Geneva.


The Polish Presidency of the 24th Conference of the Parties to UNFCCC (COP24) and the Katowice Rulebook
H.E. Amb. Zbigniew Czech, Permanent representative of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Poland to the United Nations Office in Geneva

Discussing the outcomes and the links with processes in Geneva
Benjamin Schachter, Climate Change Focal Point, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Coordinator, Green Jobs Programme, International Labour Organization
Philip Gass, Senior Policy Advisor, International Institute for Sustainable Development
Jolein Holtz, Fellow, Center for International Environmental Law
Moderation: Yves Lador, Geneva Representative, Earthjustice

Followed by Q&A


Poland Amb. Czech

  • Paris Agreement Rulebook, a main outcome of COP21: set of rules that needs to be followed by the countries in order to track their progress (contribution, adaption, support provided, needed and/or received). Countries are asked to submit their progresses by December 2024.
    One of the main preoccupations of the COP24 preparation was how to agree on a set of rules that will be accepted by all the parties and then implemented.
  • Talanoa Dialogue mentioned as a tool how to improve/help the implementation of Paris Agreement said H.E. Amb. Zbigniew Czech after mentioning the importance of the adoption of the Rule Book at Katowice.


  • There is more work to be done on Article 6 related to market.
  • Elements agreed on by the parties: common reporting, 5-year cycle to submit NDCs
  • Just Transition (theme of the COP): “a process of ensuring that as we move forward to a low-carbon future as we reduce carbon emission as we adapt to climate chance, it is really about ensuring that no one is left behind”.
  • There is a need to be more connected to the workers and communities that will be affected, that means more engagement with labor organizations, workers and local communities. We have to implement the transition in a way that few people suffer from the transition, if they do, we need to take actions to mitigate trough relocation of revenue, use of climate finance or strengthening social safeties.
  • Ensure that there is better engagement and coordination between environment goals-focused people and those focused on the social impacts.
  • “If we do not implement the Paris Agreement in a way that is considerate of workers and communities, it can fail based on popular staff rising (e.g.: gilets jaunes)”
  • Make sure that workers and communities are not left behind by climate change process.


  • ILO’s engagement in the COP is to reflect perspective from governments, workers and employers.
  • We are in a context of tensions around the social impacts of climate response measures.
  • Climate justice and social justice go hand in hand. Social justice is a core of Just Transition, “countries have to implement their commitments under the
  • Paris Agreement in a way that works into the opportunities for job creation and minimizing disruption”.
  • Challenges: Battle of narratives in Just Transition is: A: high ambitus actions on climate change  – economic and social disruption (job loss) B: Inaction against climate change that will destroy job and disrupt livelihood (what ILO believes in).
  • The Work Employment Social Outlook (2018) dedicated to greening with jobs. They did analysis, assessments to see what a 2 C could mean for jobs,
    Gov. must work with employers, workers and communities to shape policies (must look at social protection policies, skills, upgrading and development policies)


See Presentation by Jolein Holtz & CIEL Report on COP24.

  • Rulebook Implementation Guidelines, incorporation of HR principles (gender and equality. Indigenous people rights, just transition, public participation, intergenerational equity and ecosystem integrity) within the rulebook.
  • Just Transition: leaving no one behind + commitment to indigenous people and traditional knowledge
  • There is a growing awareness of the importance of HR within the climate policies.

UN Human Rights

  • Human Rights weree not explicitly mentioned in the outcomes of the rulebook
  • Every COP from now on has to be on climate ambitions because if we do not do a lot more to mitigate climate change, we are condemning future generations.

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, statements at COP24 and immediately prior on climate displacement at a side event during the launch of the Global Compact for Migration and also to the Climate Vulnerable Forum Global Summit.

Preliminary, non-exhaustive, list of action points on Human Rights and Climate Change following COP24:

  • Advocating for and supporting States to integrate human rights in their nationally determined contributions and adaptation communications to the UNFCCC.
  • Advocating that high ambition is a human rights obligation.
  • Supporting next steps in the operationalization of the local communities and indigenous peoples platform.
  • Continuing to work on human rights capacity building (i.e. the Paris Committee on Capacity-Building, the Durban Forum, etc.)
  • Advocating for a human rights focal point at the UNFCCC
  • Promoting a rights-based approach to loss and damage under the Warsaw International Mechanism, particularly its taskforce on displacement
  • Advocating for continuation and strengthening of the workstream on gender equality at the UNFCCC
  • Advocating for enhanced participation and access of non-party stakeholders to UNFCCC processes.
  • Supporting the global stocktake (UN entities can provide inputs)



The event was live on Facebook.

Link to Upcoming Processes

  • Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region
  • Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
  • HL meeting of GA preparing to UNSG Climate Conference
  • HLPF meetings
  • UNSG Climate Conference
  • IPCC Ocean Report and AR6