Incorporating Human Rights in Climate Action Should be a Piece of (Birthday) Cake

10 December 2018

Seventy years ago the world came together following the devastation of the second world war, one of the worst human rights atrocities of our time, and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to ensure that egregious human rights violations would never be repeated on such a massive scale! Today we are facing a different, but equally existential and calamitous crisis: climate change.

ECO is concerned that as we celebrate UDHR’s 70th anniversary, Parties inside the Spodek have forgotten what happened 70 years ago and the commitments they made in the UDHR. Over the last few days, we”ve witnessed Parties cutting out references to human rights across different parts of the rulebook. On this Human Rights Day, it feels wrong to see draft texts that exclude human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, gender equality, public participation, food security, just transition, ecosystem integrity and protection of biodiversity, and intergenerational equity.

It does not have to be. ECO wants to remind Parties that it is not a tradeoff between ambition and the Paris Agreement rulebook. ECO was extremely disappointed at Parties” unwelcoming stance to the IPCC 1.5 report because we can all agree that increasing ambition is necessary. Successful climate action requires integration of human rights. Climate change is already impacting, and will continue to impact, all human rights. Incorporating rights leads to better action, can help achieve the below 1.5° goal, and is a matter of survival.

We can’t let the 70th anniversary go by without making significant progress on ensuring rights-based and people-centered implementation of climate action by increasing ambition to stay below 1.5ºC, ensuring equity, and incorporating human rights fully in the implementation guidelines.

For governments, recommitting to human rights and ensuring their integration in the Implementation Guidelines should really be just a piece of (birthday) cake!

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