From 4 to 6 October in Geneva, the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) hosted the 2010 Social Forum on Climate Change and Human Rights, which addressed the adverse effects of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights, inc
From 4 to 6 October in Geneva, the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) hosted the 2010 Social Forum on Climate Change and Human Rights, which addressed the adverse effects of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights, including the right to life and economic, social and cultural rights.
In his opening remarks to the Social Forum, Sihasak Phuangketkeow, President of the Human Rights Council, said that the social and human rights implications of climate change must be given greater priority.
The Social Forum is an annual event which provides a unique opportunity for Member States, civil society and intergovernmental organizations to discuss global human rights challenges. The Forum aims to provide an avenue for NGOs to communicate with Human Rights Council (HRC) member States.
The Forum coincided with climate change talks being held in China ahead of a year-end meeting in Cancún in Mexico. Both rounds of negotiations aim to find sufficient common ground to enable a treaty on climate change.
Much attention at the Forum was directed to the upcoming conference in Cancún. Anders Kompass, speaking on behalf of the UN Human Rights Office, emphasized that any agreed text from the Cancún gathering had to be consistent with States’ human rights obligations.
A human rights-based approach, Kompass said “brings into focus how climate change-related threats affect individuals and groups differently. Climate change impacts exacerbate existing vulnerabilities, which in turn, are rooted in discrimination, disparate health status and imbalances in access to knowledge and information.”
Laura Dupuy Lasserre, the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the 2010 Social Forum, noted in her concluding remarks that the discussions at the meeting had reaffirmed the Human Rights Council resolution “that human rights obligations and commitments have the potential to inform and strengthen international and national policy-making in the area of climate change, promoting policy coherence, legitimacy and sustainable outcomes.”
An alliance of non-governmental organizations recommended the establishment of a special rapporteur or independent expert of the Human Rights Council dedicated to human rights and climate change.
The Social Forum is a subsidiary body of the Human Rights Council and the report from this session will be considered at the 2011 March session of the Council.
The Social Forum of the Human Rights Council – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Human Rights and Climate Change – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights