Publié: 14 Juin 2021

The 47th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC46) will take place from 21 June to 15 July 2021 in Geneva. This page highlights the environmental-related activities of this session.

The Council proceedings can be followed live on UN TV. The meeting summary will be available on the UN Geneva webpage.

Human Rights and Climate Change

Climate will be high on the agenda of HRC47. The HRC is expected to adopt its annual resolution on human rights and climate change. The OHCHR’s analytical study on the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons in the context of climate change (A/HRC/47/46), requested last year in Resolution 44/7, will be presented at this session, and discussed at the Council’s Panel on Climate Change on 30 June.

Climate change is an existential threat for people and the planet. Its harmful effects undermine the full enjoyment and realization of all human rights, disproportionately affecting those who are already in vulnerable situations. Over the past years, the Human Rights Council took on resolutions and discussions on specific aspects of climate change, while Special Rapporteur contributed with reports on specific thematic angles within their mandates. However, there is currently no mechanisms to holistically address the interface of climate change and human rights.

In 2010, an alliance of civil society organizations has called upon the HRC to establish a mandate for a new UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change in order to better protect the rights of those on the frontlines of climate impacts. This call was reiterated by the Climate Vulnerable Forum – an alliance of States highly impacted by climate change – at the 2019 Conference of Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and in many other contexts by various groups of States and civil society organizations.

In 2020, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and Franciscans International (FI), in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Geneva Office, launched a series of activities to assess how a new UN Special Rapporteur mandated on climate change could effectively support the work of civil society and Indigenous Peoples organizations already working on these issues. Based on regional consultations around the world, they published a report highlighting key recommendations for the institutions of the mandate.

The Geneva Dialogues consist of a series of events to discuss how human rights institutions can better support and enhance climate ambition and human rights-based climate action. A high-level session of the Dialogues took place on 24 March 2021. This session built upon the outcomes of expert workshops on environmental justice, land and indigenous peoples, and climate and opportunities for redress. It provided the opportunity to discuss how specific human rights institutions and processes can effectively contribute to addressing those issues and how to foster synergies between the implementation processes for the Paris Agreement and the mandates of human rights bodies. At this session, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, delivered a message emphasizing that “human rights are the key to devising climate policies that are equitable, inclusive and effective”. Read the statement.

In March 2020, the OHCHR published a factsheet on the “Frequently asked questions on human rights and climate change”. This comprehensive guide reviews the impacts of climate change on human rights, the obligations of States on the matter, the role of UN human rights mechanisms, the relevance of the recognition of a right to a clean, safe, healthy and sustainable environment, and more key aspects on the connections between human rights and climate change.

The Human Rights Council has contributed to raising awareness of the links between human rights and climate change by successive and targeted clarifications of the ways climate change affects human rights, including through the adoption of a series of resolutions related to climate change and human rights.

The Permanent Mission of Bangladesh delivered a statement at HRC46, on behalf of 55 states, calling for effective global climate actions in order to promote and protect the human rights of all and calling upon the Council to consider creating a new Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change.

Events

  • 30 June, 10:00-12:00 CEST: Panel discussion on the human rights of older persons in the context of climate change – introduced by Vietnam.
  • 7 July: Workshop on the legal aspects of recognizing of the right to environment | Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia, and Geneva Academy

Resolutions

  • Human rights and climate change, with the focus on all persons in vulnerable situations | Vietnam on behalf the Core Group

Reports

  • Analytical study on the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons in the context of climate change | A/HRC/47/46

Links

Past HRC Sessions

Who to Follow on Twitter

#HRC47

@UN_HRC | UN Human Rights Council
@nazhatskhan | H.E. Amb. Nazhat Shameem Khan,Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations Office at Geneva, President of the Human Rights Council in 2021
@UNHumanRights | The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights)
@mbachelet | United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
@SREnvironment | Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment

@obioraokaforc | UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity
@CRINwire | Child Rights International Network

@ISHRglobal | The International Service for Human Rights
@URGthinktank | Universal Rights Group (URG)
@Geneva_Academy | Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
@YvesLador | Special Representative of Earthjustice in Geneva
@duycks | Senior Attorney – Climate and Energy Programme at the Center for International Environmental Law
@ChildRightsCnct | Child Rights Connect
@CERI_Coalition |
Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative (CERI)