Last updated: 13 May 2024

The 56th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC56) will take place in Geneva from 18 June to 12 July 2024. This page highlights the environmental-related activities of this session.

The 56th regular session of the Human Rights Council will take place in Geneva from 18 June to 12 July 2024. The Council proceedings can be viewed on UN TV. The meeting summaries will be available on the UN Geneva website and the live-updated programme of work on Sched.

HRC56 Info-Sharing Session | Human Rights and the Environment

The promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change is the usual main environmental theme of the Council’s June sessions, with the Special Rapporteur’s annual Report to the HRC. This session will also be the first of the new Special Rapporteur on climate change, Elisa Morgera.

To develop more synergies among stakeholders and a better outreach on the environmental agenda of HRC56, including the activities taking place in parallel to the Council’s session, the Geneva Environment Network and its partners are convening an information-sharing session. Share and exchange information on planned environment-related activities at and around HRC56, such as in person and online events, publications or exhibitions, among others, and exchange on possible synergies. → Share information on your activity!

Climate Change and Human Rights

Climate change is one of the greatest existential threats for people and the planet. Its harmful effects undermine the full enjoyment and realization of all human rights, posing a serious risk to the fundamental rights to life, health, food and an adequate standard of living of individuals and communities across the world and disproportionately affecting those who are already in situations of vulnerability. International Geneva as a global hub for environmental governance plays a key role in advancing a human rights-based approach to climate action.

Report | SR climate change

In this session of the Council, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change, Elisa Morgera, will present her first report (A/HRC/56/46) to the Council after her appointment in its previous session.

An interactive dialogue on the report with the Special Rapporteur will take place on 1 July 2024.

Reports on the Special Rapporteur Visits

The Special Rapporteur will also present the reports of the previous mandate holder on his visit to Honduras (A/HRC/56/46/Add.1) and the Philippines (A/HRC/56/46/Add.1). An interactive dialogue on the report with the Special Rapporteur will take place on 1 July 2024.

Report | Climate change and internal displacement | SR IDPs

The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Paula Gaviria Betancur, in her annual report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/56/47), will focus on planned relocations of people in the context of the adverse effects of climate change and disasters. For this report, planned relocations are understood as a planned process in which groups of persons move or are assisted to move away from their homes or places of temporary residence, are settled in a new and safer location, and provided with the conditions for rebuilding their lives. The report will consider planned relocations conducted to protect people from risks and impacts related to disasters, environmental change and climate-related hazards and vulnerabilities.

Focusing on contexts of disasters, environmental change and climate change, the report identifies key human rights challenges posed by planned relocation processes, and takes stock of relevant laws and policies at the national, regional, international levels. The report also shares the experiences of people relocated and their views on how the full enjoyment of human rights can be ensured in contexts of planned relocation processes, and proposes a human rights-based approach to planned relocations and identify the human rights principles that should underpin such movements of persons and communities.

An interactive dialogue on the report with the Special Rapporteur will take place on 20-21 June 2024.

Report on the Special Rapporteur Visit

The Special Rapporteur will also present their report on their visit to Mozambique (A/HRC/56/47/Add.1). An interactive dialogue on the report with the Special Rapporteur will take place on 20-21 June 2024.

Panel Discussion | Ensuring livelihood resilience in the context of the risk of loss and damage | OHCHR

In its resolution 50/9, the Human Rights Council decided to incorporate into its annual programme of work, beginning in 2023, at a minimum a panel discussion on different specific themes on the adverse impacts of climate change on human rights. In its resolution 53/6, it decided that, at the fifty-sixth session of the Council, the panel discussion would be focused on ensuring livelihood resilience in the context of the risk of loss and damage relating to the adverse effects of climate change for achieving progressively the full realization of all human rights and ways forward to address the challenges thereto on the basis of equity and climate justice.

The annual panel discussion on the adverse impacts of climate change on human rights will take place on 1 July 2024.

Business and Human Rights

Human rights and the environment are intrinsically intertwined. If we are to tackle environmental challenges without leaving anyone behind, the private sector must respect both the environment and environmental rights, and ensure they are not violated in their conduct of business operations and beyond.

Report | Investors, environmental, social and governance approaches and human rights | WG on Business and Human Rights

In its stocktaking exercise of the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) over the first decade since their adoption, the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises recognized that “financial actors have an unparalleled ability to influence companies and scale up on the implementation of the Guiding Principles.” An issue of particular relevance to the UNGPs is that financial institutions are increasingly including an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) approach (albeit with diverse indicators) in determining their decision-making on investments.

The report by the Working Group (A/HRC/56/55) aims to provide practical guidance to States, businesses, especially financial institutions of all types, civil society and other stakeholders on how to align better ESG approaches with the UNGPs in the context of financial products and services. The report will also make connections with the Working Group’s previous and upcoming reports and knowledge products addressing issues such as just transition in the extractive sector, climate change, human rights due diligence, policy coherence, gender dimensions, human rights defenders, state-owned enterprises, access to remedy, and the financial sector in the Latin American and Caribbean region.

An interactive dialogue on the report with the Working Group will take place on 25 June 2024.

Protecting Environmental Human Rights Defenders | Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association

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 | Preserving the gains and pushing back on emerging restrictions on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and rising authoritarianism | SR on peaceful assembly

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), it requires collective response to ensure that the freedom of peaceful assembly and association rights gains are preserved, so these rights can continue to play their historic and crucial role in promoting the defense of human rights, socio-economic justice and peace. The importance of reversing the restrictions to these fundamental freedoms is even more urgent today, as the world is facing serious and growing threats to global peace and security due to the escalation and expansions of armed conflicts, and attacks on democracy, including by anti-rights and authoritarian actors, as well as the serious climate change crisis. While emerging technologies present some opportunities, they also pose new threats, all the more so given the lack of adequate regulations, oversight and human rights safeguards. To address the global challenges of today and of tomorrow, a collective effort will be needed to push back against the global threat to the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and to ensure their capacity to enable change is maximally supported.

The Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Gina Romero, will present her first report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/56/50) after being appointed during the last session. The report analyzes the key gains of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and the deepening and emerging/new challenges and threats to these rights, while identifying and examining the responsibilities of global and regional actors that can play a role in providing a global unified response against the current crackdown on these rights. This report will provide an important contribution to strengthening the commitments for the rights and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, at its 75th anniversary.

An interactive dialogue on the report with the Special Rapporteur will take place on 27 June 2024.

Extreme Poverty, SDGs and the Environment

Report | Eradicating Poverty Beyond Growth | SR extreme poverty

The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, in this session of the Human Rights Council, will present his report on the role of economic growth, understood as an increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in the fight against poverty (A/HRC/56/61). The report intends to explore “post-growth” approaches to poverty eradication that move beyond GDP, and will consider whether and how development pathways guided by human rights can support the search for such alternative approaches.

Though the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) present economic growth as essential to fulfilling the promise of the 2030 Development Agenda, they are also nuanced about the contribution of economic growth to the 2030 Development Agenda, including reference to the need to take into account planetary limits in designing development strategies. As such, the report explores how the eradication of poverty can be delinked from the pursuit of economic growth that damages the environment, increases inequalities, and narrows down democracy. The report also considers how human rights can guide the search for alternative development pathways as the world prepares the post-2030 Agenda.

An interactive dialogue on the report with the Special Rapporteur will take place on 2 July 2024.

Reports on the Special Rapporteur Visit

The Special Rapporteur will also present their report on their visit to Bangladesh (A/HRC/56/61/Add.1) and Ecuador ((A/HRC/56/61/Add.2). An interactive dialogue on the report with the Special Rapporteur will take place on 2 July 2024.

Related Activities on the Sidelines of HRC56

Activities and events on human rights and the environment taking place on the sidelines of HRC56 will be listed below.

Events

Date and time of some events subject to change on the live-updated programme of work on Sched.

HRC56 Info-Sharing Session | Human Rights and the Environment

28 May 2024 | 10:00 – 11:00 CEST | IEH1, Room 2 & Online, Webex

Organizational meeting for the 55th session of the Human Rights Council

3 June 2024 | 10:00 – 18:00 CEST (TBC) | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online

Opening of the session

18 June 2024 | 9:00 – 9:45 CEST | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online

Interactive Dialogue with SR on internally displaced persons

20 – 21 June 2024 | 16:00 CEST onwards | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online

Interactive Dialogue with SR on human rights and climate change

1 July 2024 | 12:00 CEST onwards | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online

Interactive Dialogue with SR on

Annual panel on adverse impacts of climate change

1 July 2024 | 15:00 – 17:00 CEST | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online

Interactive Dialogue with SR on extreme poverty

2 July 2024 | 11:00 – 13:00 CEST | Palais des Nations, Room XX & Online

Decisions and Conclusions

10 – 12 July  2024 | Palais des Nations, Room XX

Reports

Reports to be presented at HRC56 relating to the global environmental agenda will be listed below. The full list of reports can be consulted on the HRC website.

  • A/HRC/56/46 | Report of the Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change
  • A/HRC/56/46/Add.1 | Visit to Honduras | Report of the Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change
  • A/HRC/56/46/Add.2 | Visit to the Philippines | Report of the Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change
  • A/HRC/56/47 | Climate change and internally displaced persons | Report of the Special Rapporteur on internally displaced persons
  • A/HRC/56/47/Add.1 | Visit to Mozambique | Report of the Special Rapporteur on internally displaced persons
  • A/HRC/56/50 | Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
  • A/HRC/56/50/Add.1 | Visit to Peru | Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
  • A/HRC/56/50/Add.2 | Visit to Algeria | Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
  • A/HRC/56/55 | Investors, environmental, social and governance approaches and human rights | Report of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights
  • A/HRC/56/55/Add.1 | Visit to Japan | Report of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights
  • A/HRC/56/61 | Eradicating poverty beyond growth | Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
  • A/HRC/56/61/Add.1 | Visit to Bangladesh | Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
  • A/HRC/56/61/Add.2 | Visit to Ecuador | Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Resolutions

Resolutions (found on the HRC56 website) relating to the global environmental agenda tabled at HRC56 and their subsequent decisions are listed below.

A summary of actions on the resolutions will be provided by the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue.

Call for Submissions

Special Procedures

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

Videos of related events will be featured in this section.

Links and Resources

News and Updates

The latest relevant news updates related to HRC56 will be listed below.

Past HRC Sessions

Environment @ HRC55 | Environment @ HRC54 | Environment @ HRC53 | Environment @ HRC52 | Environment @ HRC51Environment @ HRC50 | Environment @ HRC49 | Environment @ HRC48 | Environment @ HRC47 | Environment @ HRC46 | Environment @ HRC45 | Environment @ HRC44 | Environment @ HRC43

Who to Follow on X

#HRC56

@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 | Astrid Puentes Riaño, SR on the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment (also @astridpuentes)
@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