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8 Feb 2018

Center for International Environmental Law & The Global Initiative for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

New report examines application of UN human rights treaties to climate change issues

"States’ Human Rights Obligations in the Context of Climate Change", 29 Jan 2018

As governments and intergovernmental organisations have recognised, climate change has adverse impacts on a wide range of human rights. Existing human rights obligations defined under legally binding treaties must consequently inform climate action. These obligations can guarantee that climate policies and measures effectively protect the rights of those most affected by climate impacts. They can also ensure that the design of these policies and measures builds on the principles of non-discrimination and meaningful public participation…

…This Synthesis Note introduces the role of these UN bodies and provides a detailed record of all of their climate-related recommendations that can help interpret the existing human rights legal obligations of States in the context of climate change.

This Note contains three sections. The first section provides an overview of the human rights treaty bodies and their engagement with climate change, focusing on their “State reporting procedure.” It includes statistics on references to climate change by the treaty bodies in their State reporting procedures. The second section is a compilation of recommendations by the treaty bodies, organised by common or important themes. The final section provides a more detailed analysis of the work of each of the three treaty bodies most active on climate change: the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women..., the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights..., and the Committee on the Rights of the Child…