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5 Nov 2015

Sara Seck, Centre for International Governance Innovation

UN Forum Series Blog: Measuring Progress: Lawyers and Climate Change

If the business responsibility to respect rights is not law, as many seem to think, then one might think that lawyers would not be paying much attention to it. And yet – tentatively – more and more appear to be doing just that. This is perhaps one of the most interesting developments and one of the most promising solutions for implementation and ultimately effectiveness of business and human rights...There is an urgent need to articulate clearly what business responsibilities for human rights require with regard to climate justice, and to articulate these responsibilities in a manner that accords with the understanding of these rights as put forward by those from the global south whose existing vulnerabilities are severely aggravated in a climate changing world...In the words of the human rights mandate holders, climate change is “one of the greatest challenges of our generation, and it is our generation that must meet it”...Accordingly, if business responsibilities for human rights are to mean anything at all in 2015, they must urgently be called into service to address the problem of climate change...In 2015, a draft Stakeholder Engagement Guidance was produced to aid in implementation. Yet nowhere in these well-established international standards is there any guidance on how to align company operations to respect rights affected by climate change.