Climate Change and Human Rights

Climate Change and Human Rights is a publication developed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the Sabin Center for Climate Change at Columbia University. It sets out how the government can address climate change consistent with their obligation to uphold human rights. Its key goal is to inform the decisions of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework on Convention Climate Change (UNFCCC). Likewise, it aims to inform decisions and actions of nations, subnational governments, international organizations and private actors pursuing climate action within and beyond the UNFCCC. Part I deals with the latest projections and observations regarding climate change impact on the environment, individuals and communities. Findings include impacts of climate change on freshwater resources, ecosystems, and human resources which  are already undermining access to clean water, food, shelter and other basic human needs, interfering with livelihoods, and displacing people from their homes. These impacts amount to a serious interference with the exercise of fundamental human rights, such as the rights to life, health, water, food, housing, and an adequate standard of living. There is also a risk of human rights violations in mitigation, adaptation and geo-engineering measures (e.g., in hydroelectric and biofuel projects, resettlement programs). Part II summarizes the obligations of governments and private actors regarding these impacts, while Part III discusses the implementation of the obligations, with primary focus on activities of national governments. Finally, Part IV gives recommendations on how human rights considerations can be better integrated into mitigation and adaptation activities.