Climate change-related impacts have a range of implications, both direct and indirect, for the effective enjoyment of human rights. Today, over 70 countries joined the EU-led Joint Statement at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council to raise international awareness and understanding of the profound interdependence between human rights, a healthy environment and combating climate change.
"We need to systematically integrate human rights in the global action to reverse biodiversity loss, and combat climate change and desertification and drought. This is especially relevant now, in view of upcoming UN Climate Change and Biodiversity Conferences which are expected to set the global agenda on these issues for the decade to come," says Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva, reading out the Joint Statement.
The Statement also underlines the important roles of environmental human rights defenders. "Climate change and environmental degradation are threatening the effective enjoyment of human rights. Those living in vulnerable situations feel these negative effects most acutely; strengthening and promoting the effective participation of human rights defenders, indigenous peoples, persons belonging to minorities, women and the youth in policymaking is crucial to allow them to act as powerful agents of change and for the pursuit of a just transition. We call on all States to ensure full protection of environmental human rights defenders who are facing threats and attacks."
States that signed the Joint Statement also reiterated their commitment to adopt ambitious rights-based approaches to ensure social justice, fairness and inclusiveness in the global transition towards climate neutrality and when addressing environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. 'We pledge to fully meet our human rights obligations when taking action to address these challenges and call on the rest of the international community to do the same. Integrating human rights into our actions implies higher levels of ambition from all of us. Yet, it is only by doing so that we’ll be able to fulfil our responsibilities towards our planet, present and future generations."