Delegation of the European Union to China

HRC 41 - EU General Comment: Human Rights and Climate Change

Geneva, 12/07/2019 - 15:02, UNIQUE ID: 190712_5
Statements on behalf of the EU

41st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council Geneva, 24 June – 12 July 2019 EU General Comment: Human Rights and Climate Change

Mr. President,

I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of the EU.

We express our appreciation to the main sponsors, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Vietnam, for presenting this draft resolution.

The text before us recalls the devastating impact of climate change and we very much welcome the particular focus this year on   persons with disabilities. However, we believe that the text can still be improved upon, especially in terms of its streamlining and further focusing on the topic of the resolution, as we had repeatedly signalled to the main sponsors during the formal consultation process and bilaterally. Furthermore, the EU believes more focus should be given to the human rights dimensions of addressing climate change. We were disappointed to see that the EU proposals were not taken on board, despite the fact that there was no opposition to them by other partners. We do not accept the characterisation of the decisions universally adopted in Katowice as merely implementation guidelines.  Parties must adhere to the rules governing the implementation of the Paris Agreement if we are to build the trust that ensures every country can and will play its part in tackling climate change and protecting human rights.

We wish to stress that the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances, cannot be applied to human rights, nor is it the only relevant principle to be considered as regards climate action.  All countries are vulnerable to climate change and human rights must be universally respected, regardless of a country’s economic conditions.

We note the many references in the text to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and wish to underscore the importance that the EU attaches to the consideration of human rights principles as it is related to the UNFCCC. 

We are confident that implementation of the Paris agreement, especially upon the adoption of the Katowice rulebook in December 2018, will significantly strengthen and broaden collective international efforts to tackle climate change and thereby avert risks to the fulfilment of human rights  The EU looks forward to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit this September.

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