The Right(s) Path for Article 6

25 June 2019

A day without an ECO article about Article 6 would be devastating for all, ECO is sure of it.  But an Article 6 without human rights and proper safeguards would be even more devastating – in this case for people and the planet. 
ECO has heard a lot of discussion about the negative impacts of Article 6. And we agree. The Article 6 activities can lead to negative impacts, often on those who are denied access and control over their land. That’s why ECO has been highlighting the importance of having human rights-based social and environmental safeguards and an independent grievance redress mechanism. 
Let’s unpack this a bit. What do we mean by social and environmental safeguards? ECO is here to help. Don’t be afraid, you all have human rights obligations. And you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, these policies exist, including in the UNFCCC’s own financial mechanisms. Social and environmental safeguards cover a wide range of issues including human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, gender equality, and the right to participation and access to information, just to name a few. All of these are critical and will help achieve the sustainable development Article 6 wants.  
Including rights-based safeguards in Article 6 is the way to help ensure that the activities start from a premise of doing no harm and ensuring sustainable development and environmental integrity.  And having meaningful stakeholder consultation with local communities – and others who often don’t have a voice – early in project development will create a better project that is more sustainable and has a social license to operate.
But we also know that even with safeguards things can go wrong. History has proven just that (remember Barro Blanco?). That’s where grievance redress comes in. There should be an independent grievance mechanism that is accessible to communities so that if harm occurs, they can seek remedy. This is a huge gap in the current Kyoto Protocol mechanisms and the Article 6 mechanism need not repeat it. Learn the lessons. Make sure there is a grievance mechanism and make sure it is independent from the proposed Supervisory Body. Independence is key to legitimacy and having something that can serve its function to actually address grievances.    
ECO was pleased to hear several Parties speak positively about including human rights in Article 6. We are hoping more will join. Show that you”ve learned from the past and are committed to these mechanisms promoting sustainable development. It’s what people and the planet deserve. 

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