Climate Displacement Discussed at Expert Meeting on Human Rights and Climate Change

For Somali families that have endured violence and poverty for generations, a crushing blow came when climate change led to the disappearance of pasture for their animals. Their nomadic way of life destroyed, they are forced to settle in towns or cities where they are often reliant on assistance. Photo: UNHCR © B Bannon

On 6-7 of October the Foundation participated in the Expert Meeting on Climate Change and Human Rights 6-7 October 2016 hosted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).  The event was supported by the Foundation and the Geneva Pledge.

Mary Robinson, in her address at the high level opening, reminded participants that the countries ‘cannot address the problems that the industrialisation and consumption habits of the developed world have imposed on the planet by dispossessing vulnerable people of their homes, lands and human security.’  Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights urged participants to recognise that as ‘we approach COP22, we are at a critical moment in determining the future course of climate action. It is the intent of this meeting and our relevant work to support the Human Rights Council and its various mechanisms including special procedures as well as the treaty-bodies to help ensure that course of action includes rights-based climate solutions.”

As part of the meeting Mrs Robinson chaired a Panel on human rights, migration, and displacement related to the adverse impacts of climate change.  The Panel included leading experts in the field and was followed by break out discussion groups. The session highlighted the cross-cutting nature of human rights in relation to those displaced by climate change and the need to ensure that the proliferation of international processes didn’t create silos of competing obligations and interests.

Other panels and discussion groups were held on; the rights of persons, groups and peoples disproportionately impacted by climate change, mobilizing human rights machinery to monitor the impacts of climate change and promote accountability for climate commitments and, human rights in climate actions and UNFCCC processes.  Participation was robust with outcomes and recommendations to be made available on the OHCHR website.

Related Links

Discussion Paper Human rights, migration, and displacement related to the adverse impacts of climate change

Position Paper: Protecting the Rights of Climate Displaced People