26 Nov 2018

Venue: International Environment House I | Room 3

Organization: Geneva Environment Network

A briefing on human rights and climate change ahead of the 24th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP24), to be held in Katowice, Poland, from 2-14 December 2018, took place at the International Environment House on Monday 26 November.

About this Session

Although not that widely covered, the coming UNFCCC COP24 will deal with crucial issues affecting the practical implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement defines a vision for people-centered climate action. This briefing will present how the integration of key provisions of the Preamble reflecting this vision can inform the Paris Agreement implementation process that will be adopted at COP24 in December, so that the Agreement can truly deliver on the vision embraced by all Parties in 2015, including the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as gender equality, food security, just transition, public participation and access to information, ecosystem integrity and protection of biodiversity, and intergenerational equity.

The briefing was organized by the Geneva Climate Change Consultation Group (GeCCco) within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network.


Sébastien DUYCK

Senior Attorney, Climate and Energy Programme, Center for International Environmental Law – CIEL

Valériane BERNARD

UN Representative of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University


Climate Change "team", Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Yves LADOR (moderator)

Geneva Representative, Earthjustice



GeCCCo workging closely with the global Working Group on human right and climate change (global), For both platoforms, the conferenc in Katowice is an important event because it is suppose to bring the implementation guidelines to be followed to implement the Paris Agreement.


  • It is important to include human rights in climate policies
    • Public participation and collective design of climate policies ensure that climate policies are more effective and strengthened by local support.
    • Empowerment of men and women to contribute to climate action.
    • Considering the right to development and social and economic rights is key to a just transition and to leaving “no one behind” through the decarbonization of the economy.
    • Establishing adequate social and environmental safeguards guarantees that projects implemented in the name of climate action benefits local communities and contribute to sustainable development.
  • Human rights was first mentioned in 2010 but the breakthrough was during the Paris Agreement.
  • COP24 will lay the guidelines to implement the Paris Agreement for the next decade.
  • 2018 has been an important year in terms of parties recognizing the importance for more climate ambition, with the release of the IPCC 1.5° report and the Talanoa Dialogue process.
  • Integrating human rights considerations in the implementation of the Paris Agreement would :
    • Strengthen effectiveness of climate action and empower communities to contribute to policies
    • Promote policy coherence and synergies between climate action and the promotion
    • Enhance public support for climate policies
  • Beyond the Implementation Guidelines
    • Operationalization of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform
      • Process launched in 2015 with great progress at COP -23
      • Objective at COP -24: ensure the full operationalization of the platform in a manner that respects the 5 guiding principles put forward by indigenous peoples
    • Committing to a Just Transition
      • Proposal by the Polish presidency of the Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration reflecting importance of representative social dialogue
      • Objective at COP -24: States endorse the declaration and reflect its elements in relevant COP agenda items
  • Civil and political rights during the COP – 24
    Civil and political rights must be fully guaranteed at the COP -24

    • Throughout the negotiation process:
      • maintaining a transparent negotiations
      • enabling civil society to participate effectively
    • In the host city: strong concerns voiced regarding the Polish bill on the hosting of the COP -24
      • Exceptional ban on spontaneous demonstrations throughout the COP
      • Additional police powers to gather information on any COP participant
  • The outcomes that could help implement the Paris Agreement
  1. Recognition of the need for more climate change ambitions
  2. Human rights and the implementation of the Paris Agreement by inviting states to share information on how they integrate human rights in their actions but also by establishing safeguards to avoid negative consequences on populations
  3. Beyond the Implementation Guidelines
    – Committing to Just Transition
    – Operationalization of local communities and indigenous people
  1. Civil and political rights during COP24
    – Transparency in negotiation processes
    – Participation of civil society
  • 10th December Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Climate change is one of the major threats to human rights.


High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, issued open letter to all States ahead of the Climate change Conference:

  • Called for concrete commitment to uphold human dignity and rights
  • More ambitious national determined contributions (towards 1.5°C)
  • Current commitments may cause unthinkable harm to those most vulnerable to human rights violations
  • Adaptation and Mitigation commitments that take into account these groups
  • Meaningful participation in climate action
  • Human rights based climate action

OHCHR’s Advocacy Priorities:

  • Call States to:
    • Prevent foreseeable adverse effects of climate change through best efforts to enhance climate ambition.
    • Take adaptation actions that protect persons in vulnerable situations and leave no one behind.
    • Effectively regulate different stakeholders in order to mitigate their contributions to climate change and ensure respect for human rights.
    • Mobilize adequate means of implementation for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Guidance for outcome:
    • Integrates human rights and related principles in its guidelines for nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
    • Integrates human rights and related principles in the guidelines for adaptation communications under the Paris Agreement.
    • Integrates human rights and related principles in the guidelines for the Enhanced Transparency Framework under the Paris Agreement.
    • Establishes effective human rights safeguards in mechanisms created under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
    • Promotes public participation in the implementation of the Paris Agreement in line with Article 12 of the Agreement.
    • Operationalizes the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform with full respect for human rights.
    • Promotes capacity-building on human rights and climate change.
    • Produces a strong declaration on just transition.
    • Enhances actions to promote gender equality and gender-responsive climate action.


  • Human Rights and Climate Change Dinner
  • Side Event: Capacity Building for the Integration of Human Rights in the NDCs (Friday, 7 December, 13.15-14.45, room 5)
    Contact: bschachter@ohchr.org
    Organizers: OHCHR (moderator), UNFCCC Paris Committee on Capacity Building, Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice
    Objective: The side event will discuss the importance of building capacity of countries to integrate human rights into climate action, including in the process of developing and implementing nationally determined contributions (NDCs). It will focus on exploring existing capacity gaps and needs, as well as showcasing success stories, good practices and lessons learned. The event will also attempt to draw linkages to ongoing work under the Gender Action Plan, Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform, and Action for Climate Empowerment.
  • Side Event: Voices from the Climate Frontlines: Protecting the rights of the most vulnerable and furthest behind (Monday, 10 Dec 2018, 18:30—20:00, Room 2)
    Contact: bschachter@ohchr.org
    Organizers: One UN event
    OHCHR is the lead organizer
    Theme: The importance of climate actions and policies that respect, promote and protect the human rights of persons, groups and peoples disproportionately affected by climate change, particularly their right to participate, for transformative climate action and the eradication of all forms of poverty.
  • Special Event – 12 Dec, Evening – To be Confirmed


The faith-based groups are important actors in the go-between on the on-going negotiations.

List of event taking place in Katowice:

  • Informal Interfaith Gathering in the Spirit of Talanoa Dialogue, 2 December, 17:00-19:00, św. Szczepana (St. Stephen’s) Church, Sanktuarium Matki Boskiej Bogucickiej, ks. Markiefki 89 Street, 40-211 Katowice.
  • Climate Crisis and the Role of the Faith-based Communities for Climate Justice, Franciscan Climate Conference – COP24, 3 December, 17:00 – 19:00 Sala parafialna, Kościół św. Szczepana* (Parish Hall of St. Stephen’s Church), Katowice
  • Building a Spirit of Solidarity to overcome the climate crisis, Thursday 6 December,15.00 – 16.30, Room Narew
  • COP 24 Ecumenical Service, 9 December 2018 (Sunday), 15:00-16:00, Cathedral of Christ the King, Plebiscytowa 49A, 40-041 Katowice, Poland



The event was live on Facebook.