The 55th regular session of the Human Rights Council will take place in Geneva from 26 February to 5 April 2024. The Council proceedings can be viewed on UN TV. The meeting summaries are available on the UN Geneva website and the live-updated programme of work on Sched.
Opening of HRC55
The 55th session of the Human Rights Council opened in Geneva on 26 February 2024, where the environment featured in the statements by dignitaries present, including the President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Amb. Dennis Francis, and the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres.
- H.E. Amb. Omar Zniber of Morocco, President of the Human Rights Council, underscored the indivisibility and interdependence of human rights that are inherent to all, showing that the environmental crisis is also at the heart of our concerns. He underscored the crucial role that multilateralism will play in addressing the crises the world faces today.
- H.E. Amb. Dennis Francis emphasized the urgent need to protect victims of human rights violations around the world. He highlighted the upcoming 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States and the General Assembly’s high-level meeting on the existential threats posed by sea-level rise, making strong links between climate change and human rights. The 10th anniversary of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples on 17 April was also mentioned.
” A war on nature is a war against human rights.”
— UN Secretary-General António Guterres
- Environmental justice and human rights featured strongly in the speech delivered by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. In the face of the triple planetary crisis, he underscored the responsibilities of States to protect both people and nature, calling for the ethical and equitable treatment of all human rights.
- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk launches “Human Rights: A Path for Solutions” which distills the work and contributions made during the 75th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The work will be part of the contributions towards the Summit of the Future.
Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment
The United Nations General Assembly‘s historic decision in July 2022 to recognize that everyone has the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment has placed this landmark recognition at the forefront of the human rights agenda, following the same recognition by the Human Rights Council in October 2021. Not only is this a catalyst for accelerated action to tackle the triple planetary crisis, but it also places our attention on people and communities in vulnerable situations.
The right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is the usual main environmental theme of the Council’s March sessions, with the Special Rapporteur’s annual Report to the Council.
Report | Business enterprises, planetary boundaries and the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment
Scientific evidence that humanity is exceeding planetary boundaries calls for an urgent rethinking of the business and economic paradigms that have pushed civilization to the brink of disaster.
Presenting his annual report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/55/43) on the magnitude of ongoing business contributions to the planetary crisis, the UN Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment evaluates the inadequacies of voluntary normative frameworks for ensuring that businesses respect human rights and clarifies State obligations to protect the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment from harms caused by businesses.
Systemic and transformative changes are needed to achieve a just and sustainable future, including new business models, climate and environmental laws that incorporate planetary limits, fiscal policies that internalize externalities and reduce inequality, and holistic societal goals that replace gross domestic product (GDP) and limitless growth.
Key points from the report
Planet and society in peril
- The current economic and business paradigms are based on exploiting people and nature. Among the fundamental flaws of these paradigms is a belief in limitless growth, short-term thinking, a narrow focus on maximizing profits for shareholders, and the externalization of social, health and environmental costs onto society.
- The planetary crisis is linked to grotesque and growing inequality propelled by the private sector. The richest 1 per cent produce the same total volume of climate-wrecking greenhouse gas emissions as the poorest 66 per cent of humanity. The richest 1 per cent own almost half of the wealth in the world and have captured two thirds of all wealth generated since 2020, while the poorest half of humanity owns less than 1 per cent of global wealth.
Business responsibilities to respect the right to a healthy environment
- To address the substantial impacts of businesses on human rights, a number of normative frameworks have emerged, including the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct, the Principles for Responsible Investment, the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, and the Children’s Rights and Business Principles. Despite these frameworks, few businesses are implementing the actions required to respect human rights, especially the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, largely because none of these frameworks are legally binding.
Although the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights make no specific references to climate or the environment, the framework principles on human rights and the environment clarify that the responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights includes the responsibility to avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts through environmental harm, to address such impacts when they occur and to seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships.
Business impacts on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment
- The right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment includes clean air, a safe climate, safe and sufficient water, adequate sanitation, healthy and sustainably produced food, non-toxic environments, and healthy biodiversity and ecosystems. It also includes access to information, public participation and access to justice.
- Many large businesses are environmental criminals, recidivists with long rap sheets chronicling convictions that result in slaps on the wrist and no meaningful change in behaviour. Businesses have also caused forced evictions and displacements, have evaded responsibility for climate-related, environmental and human rights harms through outsourcing, and have promoted consumerism.
- For decades, large businesses have undermined the procedural elements of the right to a healthy environment, through greenwashing, deceit, denial, fraud, sabotaging science, aggressive lobbying, massive political donations, corruption, manipulating public opinion, revolving-door hiring practices, regulatory capture and other strategies that exploit their disproportionate economic, social and political power. They also often block the enactment and implementation of laws, regulations and standards needed to protect and fulfil the right to a healthy environment, while using lawsuits to silence, intimidate and distract.
State obligations to protect the right to a healthy environment from harm caused by businesses
As the planetary crisis worsens, it is clear that the dream of voluntary corporate social and environmental responsibility is dead.
- States have a duty to protect human rights from actual and potential harm that may be caused by all businesses within their territory, jurisdiction or control. This requires States to act with due diligence, meaning they must take all reasonable and appropriate measures to protect, preserve and achieve human rights, including the right to a healthy environment.
- Unfortunately, States are complicit in the planetary crisis, because they encourage, enable and subsidize destructive business activities. States must free themselves from corporate capture and mandate businesses to respect their climate, environmental and human rights responsibilities.
- Several jurisdictions have recently enacted mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence legislation, including the Duty of Vigilance Law in France, the Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains in Germany and the Transparency Act in Norway. Other laws are in development, including the Responsible and Sustainable International Business Conduct Bill in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Draft Bill on Human Rights and Environmental Protection for Sustainable Business Management in the Republic of Korea and the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive in the European Union.
- Enacting and enforcing comprehensive human rights and environmental due diligence legislation that effectively prevents, mitigates, ceases and remedies adverse human rights and environmental impacts is a State obligation that is essential in order to respect, protect and fulfill the right to a healthy environment.
Systemic and transformative changes
- The human rights obligations of States and businesses must be re-evaluated in the context of the planetary crisis, particularly given scientific evidence about breaching multiple planetary boundaries. Despite decades of promises, pledges and public relations rhetoric, few businesses have made the changes needed to make their operations and supply chains environmentally sustainable and respectful of human rights.
- The recent recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, which integrates human rights law and environmental law, offers game-changing potential if States and businesses comply with their obligations. Transformative changes required to fulfil the right to a healthy environment include:
- Replacing GDP and the pursuit of endless growth
- Rights-based climate and environmental laws that respect planetary limits
- Fiscal reforms
- New business paradigms
The Special Rapporteur has published comprehensive guidance on the steps States must take in order to respect, protect and fulfil the substantive elements of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment:
- Clean air
- Safe and sufficient water
- Non-toxic environments
- A safe climate
- Healthy ecosystems and biodiversity
- Healthy and sustainably produced food.
These reports are buttressed by the framework principles on human rights and the environment.
Report | Summary report on One-day seminar on “The responsibility of business enterprises to respect the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment”
Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 52/23, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and environment organized a one-day expert seminar on the responsibility of business enterprises to respect the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. The seminar brought together academic experts, civil society organizations, business and finance representatives, experts of UN agencies, funds and programmes, treaty bodies, special procedures mandate holders, other international organizations and conventions, with support received from the UN Environment Programme.
A report on the seminar (A/HRC/55/41) will be submitted to the Council at its 55th session in March 2024 and will summarize key points related to systemic problems facing the global economy, promising practices with regard to the responsibility of business enterprises to respect the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, gaps in the current normative frameworks and the necessary next steps.
An interactive dialogue on the reports with the Special Rapporteur will take place on 7 March 2024.
Reports on the Special Rapporteur Visits
The Special Rapporteur will also present his reports on his visits to Chile (A/HRC/55/43/Add.1) and Botswana (A/HRC/55/43/Add.2). An interactive dialogue on the reports of the country visit with the Special Rapporteur will also take place on 6 March 2024.
Environmental Human Rights Defenders
Environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) are those who strive to protect, promote and safeguard a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, as recognized in HRC Resolution 40/11. From the local to the international level, the efforts of EHRDs have provoked responses to the three interlinked environmental crises afflicting our planet – the loss of biodiversity, pollution, and climate change. However, evidence suggests that they remain highly vulnerable and under attack across the globe.
Report | “We are not just the future”: challenges faced by child and youth human rights defenders
Children and young persons are increasingly active in the field of human rights, promoting and protecting the rights of others. Children and youth who act as human rights defenders (HRDs) face many of the same challenges as adults who act as HRDs. But they can also meet extra problems because they are children and youth (under 32).
In this session of the Council, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, will present a report on the challenges faced by child and youth human rights defenders (A/HRC/55/50). Providing an analysis of the situation of child and youth human rights defenders, the report focuses on structural and societal barriers to their activism, legal restrictions on their participation in civic space, and the human rights violations that they face as a result of their peaceful activities in promoting and protecting human rights.
An interactive dialogue on the report with the Special Rapporteur will take place on 12 March 2024.
Key points from the report
- There has been a perceptible shift in civil society in recent years, with new tactics and innovative campaigning reinvigorating old social movements and kickstarting new ones, including on climate action, racial justice and gender equality. At the forefront of this mobilization and catalytic change are human rights issues. Despite increasing polarization and division across the world, and despite the shrinking of civic space, child and youth human rights defenders continue to play an active role in protecting and promoting human rights. Even with pervasive age-based discrimination, there are many examples of child and youth human rights defenders standing up for the rights of individuals and communities.
- Child rights defenders, especially girls and gender-nonconforming children, and including child climate activists, have been facing growing repression in many countries. Child human rights defenders have made historic contributions to human rights and environmental protection, as recognized by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its general comment No. 26 (2023). The backlash against young defenders may be proof of their efficacy.
- At the same time, young activists also feel pressured by narratives telling them that it is up to them to change the future and to be at the forefront of activism.
- For the purposes of the present report, youth human rights defenders are defined as those under 32 years of age and child human rights defenders as those under 18 years of age, who are acting peacefully to promote, protect and defend the human rights of others. Moreover, many child and youth human rights defenders do not identify as human rights defenders or activists. They may call themselves student counsellors, climate activists or peacebuilders. However, for the purposes of the present report, as long as they act peacefully for the promotion and protection of human rights, they are considered human rights defenders.
Challenges and Obstacles
- Child and youth human rights defenders often face similar barriers and violations, but their experiences are also quite distinct. These include:
- Practical and structural obstacles (lack of adequate support from traditional allies; access to national and international support mechanisms and protection networks; legal support and access to justice; academic sanctions; intimidation and harassment in online spaces and the media; ageism, legitimacy and political discrediting; impact on and of family environments; access to resources and resource mobilization; mental health and psychosocial well-being; impact of anti-rights groups)
- Legal, administrative and practical barriers to participation in civic space (freedom of association; freedom of assembly; freedom of expression; public participation; criminal and administrative charges; human rights violations against child and youth human rights defenders; entrenched patriarchy affecting girls and young women who are human rights defenders).
- However, in the face of these obstacles, the report also highlights successes and achievements of child and youth human rights defenders.
Reports on the Special Rapporteur Visits
The Special Rapporteur will also present her reports on her visits to Tajikistan (A/HRC/55/50/Add.1) and Georgia (A/HRC/55/50/Add.3). An interactive dialogue on the reports of the country visit with the Special Rapporteur will also take place on 12 March 2024.
Geneva Rights and Environment Talks
In the face of the three interrelated environmental crises — climate change, loss of biodiversity, and pollution — the recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment by the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly is an important milestone that puts environmental issues at the forefront of the human rights agenda.
The Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment reports to the Human Rights Council during its March session on issues related to his mandate. The Geneva Rights and Environment Talks aim to harness the opportunity of this moment of the year to reflect on the challenges posed by the rapid decline of nature and biodiversity and the intertwined human rights implications. The talks are also an opportunity to discuss how Geneva contributes to bringing together the actors working towards ensuring the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is upheld for all.
Right to Food and Environment
Hunger and food insecurity are global problems. According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023, 783 million people in the world faced hunger in 2022. This problem is likely to get worse given the expected increase in the world’s population and the stress on natural resources. Moreover, unsustainable food production and consumption practices have led to environmental degradation and exacerbated climate change. In return, food systems suffer from the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, which can prevent the realization of human rights, including the right to food.
Report | Fisheries and the right to food in the context of climate change
The Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri, will present his report to the Human Rights Council on fisheries and the right to food in the context of climate change (A/HRC/55/49).
Just as there is no life without water, there is no life for millions of people in coastal and riparian communities without small-scale fishers and fish workers. The full enjoyment of human rights by small-scale fishers and fish workers is therefore a necessary precondition for the realization of the right to food by everyone.
In the present report, the Special Rapporteur focuses on small-scale fishers, fish workers and Indigenous Peoples reliant on fishing, because they are on the front lines of climate change. The report is built upon and advances the work done by previous mandate holders and in the context of the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The pandemic, climate change, pollution and overfishing are brutally harming small-scale fishers, fish workers and their communities. Nevertheless, small-scale fishers, fish workers and Indigenous Peoples remain stewards of the world’s waters; they have demonstrated a capacity to adapt to climate change and play an important role in restoring, conserving, protecting and jointly managing local aquatic and coastal ecosystems. They are integral to most countries’ recovery from the pandemic and food system transformation, considering that small-scale fisheries employ more people than all other ocean economic sectors combined. Including subsistence and secondary sector workers and their dependents, it is estimated that about 600 million livelihoods depend at least partially on fisheries and aquaculture, 95 per cent of those workers are in the global South. Based on recent annual averages, small-scale fishing accounts for 90 per cent of the world’s capture-fishing employment. Of the 92 million tons of fish captured annually, 40 per cent are captured by small-scale fishers.
An interactive dialogue on the report with the Special Rapporteur will take place on 7 March 2024.
Key points from the report
Based on the one-page summary provided.
- The report submitted to the Human Rights Council in March 2024 by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri, focuses on advancing the rights of small-scale fishers, fishworkers, and Indigenous peoples. The report presents a framework for safeguarding the world’s aquatic ecosystems, ensuring biodiversity, and fulfilling human rights obligations amid climate change challenges.
- The Special Rapporteur provides a critical analysis of international treaties relevant to the sea. The tension between viewing nature as a resource versus a source of life is discussed. The report also analyses the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, the first WTO agreement addressing environmental issues, focusing on its provisions related to illegal fishing and overfished stocks.
- The report evaluates the “Blue Economy” trend, emphasizing the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth. The Special Rapporteur argues that such initiatives often prioritize economic considerations over human rights, neglecting food security, marginalizing small-scale fishers, and undervaluing social and cultural objectives.
- To address these issues, the Special Rapporteur recommends refocusing state policies on the needs of small-scale fisheries, protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems, and acknowledging the co-existence of fisherfolk and nature. The report concludes with a set of recommendations to guide future actions on this important human rights issue.
Cultural Rights and the Environment
“The universality of human rights, including cultural rights, has no meaning today without a liveable environment in which they can be enjoyed.”
— Report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights on Universality, cultural diversity and cultural rights (A/73/227)
Cultural diversity is an essential factor for the realization of all universal human rights, and full respect for human rights both creates an enabling environment for, and is a guarantee of, cultural diversity. Environmental degradation, including the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, does not only prevent the realization of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment but also jeopardizes the “conditions allowing all people, without discrimination, to access, participate in and contribute to cultural life through a process of continuous development” (A/75/298).
Report | Right to access and take part in scientific progress
Today, particularly in the post-Covid and climate change context, many ongoing conversations focus on the important contribution of science to the realization of human rights and the sustainable development goals. The Special Rapporteur believes that this discussion must be placed in a human rights framework. It is important to reiterate the human rights dimension of science, and to understand access to and participation in science as crucial human rights issues.
In her report to the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Alexandra Xanthaki, intends to address the right to access and take part in scientific progress (A/HRC/55/44). The report takes stock of setbacks and progress both under international human rights law and in practice regarding access to scientific knowledge and its applications. It focuses more on the rather unexplored issue of participation in scientific life, as part of cultural life. Central questions include what participation means, what are possible limits to it, and how to ensure it in ways that complement scientific expertise, in the context of societies that are challenged by misinformation and disinformation. It will also reflect more broadly on the definition of science, scientific expertise and exclusionary processes such definitions may entail; on the notion of scientific diversity; on challenges and obstacles to participation; on conditions and best ways to ensure it; as well as on the intrinsic relationship between access and participation.
An interactive dialogue on the report with the Special Rapporteur will take place on 7 March 2024.
Climate Change and Human Rights
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 Rapporteurs contributed with reports on specific thematic angles within their mandates.
Report | Measures for minimizing the adverse impact of climate change on the full realization of the right to food
In this session of the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner is presenting a report (A/HRC/55/37) that identifies measures for minimizing the adverse impact of climate change on the full realization of the right to food. The High Commissioner focuses on socioeconomic systems, presenting five pathways that illustrate how human rights-grounded measures can minimize the adverse impact of climate change on the full realization of the right to food and how a transformation of food systems can, at the same time, help mitigate climate change.
This is in line with the panel discussion convened at the 53rd session of the Council that focused on the adverse impact of climate change on the full realization of the right to food (A/HRC/RES/50/9) for all people and ways forward to address the challenges thereto (as well as on best practices and lessons learned, including science-based approaches and local and indigenous knowledge). → Consult our page for highlights of the panel discussion.
An interactive dialogue on the report by the High Commissioner will take place on 13 March 2024.
Appointments at HRC55
The Human Rights Council will also be appointing environment-related expert mechanism and special procedure mandate holders at its 55th session. These include:
- Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment (Candidates proposed by the Consultative Group to the President)
- Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change (Candidates proposed by the Consultative Group to the President)
- Members of the Working Group on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas
- Members from Africa and North America of the Expert Mechanism on the rights of Indigenous Peoples
Related Activities on the Sidelines of HRC55
The International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) is taking place from 8 – 17 March 2024. This year’s selection includes films that focus on the environment, climate change, rights of Indigenous Peoples, business and human rights, among others.
The FIFDH Impact Days bring together NGOs, filmmakers, impact practitioners, and funders to find joint strategies around common human rights themes, including on the environment. Taking place from 10-12 March 2024, the 6th edition of Impact Days features documentary projects, with the goal of working with filmmakers to refine their impact goals, and facilitate partnerships within the vast ecosystem of organisations, policymakers and funders active around International Geneva. → Discover the program.
Date and time of some events subject to change on the live-updated programme of work on Sched.
8 February 2024 | 10:00 – 11:00 CET | IEH1, Room 2 & Online, Webex
12 February 2024 | 15:00 – 18:00 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online
In Defence of Civic Space and Democracy - Supporting the Work of Human Rights Defenders | HRC55 Side Event
26 February 2024 | 13:00 – 14:00 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XXII
Finland & ISHR
The People's Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources within the Context of Decolonisation: The Case of Western Sahara | HRC55 Side Event
27 February 2024 | 14:30 – 15:30 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XXII & Online
Zimbabwe on behalf of a group of countries
29 February 2024 | 16:00 – 17:00 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XXV
United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation
Informal consultations on the draft resolution on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment
4 March 2024 | 15:00 – 16:30 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XXII & Online
Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia & Switzerland
Human Rights and Environmental Impacts of Investors-States Dispute Settlements (ISDS) Mechanisms | Geneva Rights and Environment Talks
5 March 2024 | 13:00 – 14:00 CET | Villa Rigot & Online
SR environment and human rights, Earthjustice, CIEL, IISD, Global Cities Hub & GEN
The Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment: Consensus Building on Its Scope and Links With Other Human Rights
5 March 2024 | 14:30 – 15:30 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XXVII
Geneva Academy, Switzerland, Slovenia & Morocco
5 March 2024 | 15:00 – 17:00 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online
Business, Planetary Boundaries, and the Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment | HRC55 Side Event with SR on human rights and the environment
5 March 2024 | 16:00 – 17:00 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XXV
SR human rights and environment, UNEP, GEN
6 March 2024 | 15:30 – 17:30 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online
7 March 2024 | 11:00 – 13:00 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online
7 March 2024 | 12:00 – 13:00 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XXV
7 March 2024 | 15:00 – 17:00 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online
8 March 2024 | 13:00 – 14:00 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XXV
UNEP & GEN
10 March 2024 | 15:00 CET | Espace Pitoëff – Théâtre
13 March 2024 | 16:00 CET | Grütli – Salle Langlois
Followed by a discussion, “Towards ethics of coexistence: rethinking relationship with other species” on 10 March
10 March 2024 | 19:00 CET | Espace Pitoëff – Grande Salle
16 March 2024 | 21:00 CET | Grütli – Salle Simon
Followed by a discussion, “Carte blanche to Rokhaya Diallo – Climate equity: women on the front line” on 10 March
No Nature-based Solutions Without a Human Rights-based Approach | Geneva Rights and Environment Talks
11 March 2024 | 10:00 – 11:00 CET | Palais des Nations, H307-1 & Online
SR environment and human rights & Geneva Task Force on Human Rights and Biodiversity
11 March 2024 | 13:00 – 14:30 CET | Building H
GeRoadMap 40/11, ISHR, Earthjustice & GEN
12 March 2024 | 10:00 – 12:00 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online
12 March 2024 | 10:00 – 11:30 CET | International Environment House 1, Room 2 & Online, Webex
UNEP & GEN
Informal Briefing on OHCHR-UNEP Collaboration to Advance the Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment
12 March 2024 | 13:00 – 14:00 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XXV & Online
13 March 2024 | 12:15 – 13:00 | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online
13 March 2024 | 18:30 CET | Espace Pitoëff – Grande Salle
Film projection followed by a panel discussion
14 March 2024 | TBC | Palais des Nations
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Asia Pacific Network on Environmental Defenders
15 March 2024 | TBC | Palais des Nations
Human Rights Health Foundation
15 March 2024 | 18:30 CET | Espace Pitoëff – Café du Festival
28 March 2024 | 13:00 – 15:00 CET | Palais des Nations, Room XX
Costa Rica, Samoa, Switzerland & Deep Sea Conservation Coalition
Reports presented at HRC55 relating to the global environmental agenda are listed below. The full list of reports can be consulted on the HRC website.
- A/HRC/55/37 | Measures for minimizing the adverse impact of climate change on the full realization of the right to food | Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
- A/HRC/55/41 | Expert seminar on the responsibility of business enterprises to respect the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment | Report of the Special Rapporteur on environment and human rights
- A/HRC/55/43 | Business, planetary boundaries, and the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment | Report of the Special Rapporteur on environment and human rights
- A/HRC/55/43/Add.1 | Visit to Chile | Report of the Special Rapporteur on environment and human rights
- A/HRC/55/43/Add.2 | Visit to Botswana | Report of the Special Rapporteur on environment and human rights
- A/HRC/55/44 | Report of the Special Rapporteur on the field of cultural rights
- A/HRC/55/49 | Fisheries and the right to food in the context of climate change | Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food
- A/HRC/55/50 | “We are not just the future”: challenges faced by child and youth human rights defenders | Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
- A/HRC/55/50/Add.1 | Visit to Tajikistan | Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
- A/HRC/55/50/Add.2 | Visit to Georgia | Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
- A/HRC/55/59 | Report on the ninth session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights
- A/HRC/55/59/Add.1 | Text of the updated draft legally binding instrument with the textual proposals submitted by States during the ninth session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights
Resolutions (found on the HRC55 website) relating to the global environmental agenda presented during the organizational meeting of HRC55 at this session are listed here.
A summary of actions on the resolutions will be provided by the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue.
- Renewing the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment | Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia & Switzerland
Note: The resolution will be shorter and more effective, with technical adjustments to be in line with A/HRC/Res/48/13 and Res/52/23 and A/Res/76/300. Text will be based on A/HRC/Res/46/7.
- Rights of peasants belonging to minorities | Austria, Mexico, Slovenia
Call for Submissions
The special procedure mandate-holders are independent human rights experts who help advance human rights, by reporting and advancing from a country-specific or thematic perspective, some of which are related to the environment. Calls for submissions are made to help mandate-holders prepare their reports to the Human Rights Council.
Videos of related events will be featured in this section.
Links and Resources
- 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council
- GCHRAGD | Updates on HRC55
- ISHR | HRC55 | Key issues on agenda
- URG | Inside Track: HRC55
- GEN | Human Rights and the Environment
News and Updates
- 200+ NGOs urge UN to ensure defenders can continue to participate online | ISHR | 6 February
Over 200 organisations sent a joint letter to UN representatives calling on them to ensure live online modalities of participation for UN human rights bodies and mechanisms in light of concerns regarding access and participation of civil society in these spaces.
Past HRC Sessions
Environment @ HRC54 | Environment @ HRC53 | Environment @ HRC52 | Environment @ HRC51 | Environment @ HRC50 | Environment @ HRC49 | Environment @ HRC48 | Environment @ HRC47 | Environment @ HRC46 | Environment @ HRC45 | Environment @ HRC44 | Environment @ HRC43
Who to Follow on X
@UN_HRC | UN Human Rights Council
@Morocco_UNOG | Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, President of the Human Rights Council in 2024
@F_Ruddyard | H.E. Amb. Febrian Ruddyard, Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council in 2024
@DStaniulis1 | H.E. Amb. Darius Staniulis, Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council in 2024
@marceloscappini | H.E. Amb. Marcelo Eliseo Scappini Ricciardi, Permanent Representative of Paraguay to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council in 2024
@SchroderusFox | H.E. Amb. Heidi Schroderus-Fox, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council in 2024
@UNHumanRights | The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights)
@volker_turk | UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
@NadaNashif | United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
@SREnvironment | David Boyd, SR on human rights & the environment
@SRtoxics | Marcos Orellana, SR on toxics and human rights
@RelatorDd | José Francisco Calí Tzay, SR indigenous peoples
@SRWatSan | Pedro Arrojo Agudo, SR on rights to water and sanitation
@MichaelFakhri | Michael Fakhri | SR on right to food
@AXanthaki | Alexandra Xanthaki | SR on cultural rights
@ISHRglobal | The International Service for Human Rights
@FranciscansIntl | Franciscans International
@Geneva_Academy | Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
@hrw | Human Rights Watch
@URGthinktank | Universal Rights Group (URG)
@YvesLador | Special Representative of Earthjustice in Geneva
@duycks | Senior Attorney – Climate and Energy Programme at the Center for International Environmental Law
@katha_nina | Katharina Rall, Senior Environment Researcher at Human Rights Watch
@ChildRightsCnct | Child Rights Connect
@CERI_Coalition | Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative (CERI)
@CRINwire | Child Rights International Network