Some governments have expressed concerns about including human rights language in the implementing provisions of the agreement. That is especially true of developed countries that are responsible for the vast majority of carbon emissions that are the cause of climate change.
“Beyond the agreement that is negotiated in Paris, countries are going to face tough challenges to reduce carbon emissions and to respond to the impact of climate change,” Amon said. “It’s going to be critically important for governments to be transparent and accountable and to include vulnerable populations in the planning and implementation of the agreement.”
The Human Rights & Climate Change Working Group held a news conference on December 3rd at which three constituency groups officially recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus, the Trade Unions-Nongovernmental Organizations, and the Women & Gender Constituency—as well as other working groups, described the impact that climate change is already having on human rights.
The participants emphasized that including human rights in the section of the agreement stating the overall purpose (Article 2) will be crucial for an effective response. Andrea Carmen, representing the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus, highlighted the importance of a strong statement of the rights of indigenous peoples in the implementing provisions of the agreement. Bridget Burns, from the Women’s Environment and Development Organization and representing the Women & Gender Constituency, underscored recognition of rights in the agreement’s operative text as critical to protecting the rights of women and gender equality.
“Climate change is not only an ecological crisis. Health, lives and livelihoods are at stake.” Amon said. “Respect by governments of their human rights obligations are not only consistent with the goals of the climate change agreement, but critical to ensuring its success.”