Fact Sheet Describes Links Between Climate Change and Human Rights

How Climate Change Affects Human Rights. Photo: OHCHR
How Climate Change Affects Human Rights. Photo: OHCHR

The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has published a fact sheet addressing human rights and climate change. Released on March 16, it describes the links between climate change and human rights. It highlights the obligations of States and businesses under international human rights law – both to mitigate climate change to prevent its adverse impact on human rights and to ensure that everyone is able to adapt to the negative effects of climate change.

According to the UN Human Rights Office, it is the most comprehensive guidance on rights-based climate action, providing examples of climate litigation, the rights of future generations, and the role of international cooperation and solidarity in climate action. It also underscores how the global recognition of the human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment may positively affect climate action.

The fact sheet offers recommendations for forward-looking, rights-compliant climate action at all levels – aimed at protecting both people and the planet from climate change in the years to come.

The Fact Sheet also provides an overview of the efforts of various human rights bodies to address climate change – and the role of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Conference of the Parties in promoting rights-based climate action. It builds on the extensive research and advocacy work that the Office has undertaken on climate change since the adoption of the first Human Rights Council resolution on human rights and climate change in 2008.

The Fact Sheet is number 38 in a series of Fact Sheets on a range of topics issued by the UN Human Rights Office that aim to increase understanding of human rights and related issues – including the international human rights system.

The UN Human Rights Office has developed a series of information catalogs to raise awareness of the human rights impacts of climate change and environmental harms.

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Rakesh Raman