In September, more than 40 countries called for human rights to be included in the Paris Agreement. Human rights, gender equality and the issue of a just transition dominated the discussion in the negotiations on the preamble and Section C at the last ADP session in Bonn.
Since this is a party-driven process, the co-chairs should be responsive to the Parties. Now, however, the Parties are left asking: Why has any mention of human rights been axed from the core agreement and included only in the preamble to the COP draft decision text? And why has the just transition language been dropped entirely from the draft Paris agreement text? The fleeting reference in the chapeau of the draft decision to the need for just transition strategies is not sufficient.
A human rights-focused approach offers a holistic picture of the connections between the economic, social, cultural, ecological and political dimensions of the fight against climate change. The new text must integrate human rights as a cornerstone issue in order to deliver effective climate solutions to the world’s poorest and most marginalised people. And just transition strategies must be acknowledged as key components of national climate strategies—starting with the initial round of INDCs—not seen as an afterthought. As we move forward aggressively to decarbonise the global economy, a basic sense of fairness demands that we don’t leave affected workers and communities behind.
Civil society has formed a united front on the issue of human rights. We call on Parties to enshrine human rights in the operative text of the new Paris deal so it can be implemented where it matters: on the ground and in impacted communities.