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Peoples' Declaration on Climate, Rights & Human Survival - Gender

OHCHR | The impacts of climate change on the effective enjoyment of human rights

The impacts of climate change on the effective enjoyment of human rights

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has unequivocally confirmed in its reports that climate change is real and that human-made greenhouse gas emissions are its primary cause. The increasing frequency of extreme weather events and natural disasters, rising sea levels, floods, heat waves, droughts, desertification, water shortages, and the spread of tropical and vector-borne diseases have been identified as some of the adverse impacts of climate change. These phenomena directly and indirectly threaten the full and effective enjoyment of a range of human rights by people throughout the world, including the rights to life, safe drinking water and sanitation, food, health, housing, self-determination, culture, work and development – as affirmed by the IPCC and Human Rights Council resolution 41/21.

The negative impacts of climate change are disproportionately borne by persons and communities already in disadvantageous situations owing to geography, poverty, gender, age, disability, cultural or ethnic background, among others, that have historically contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, persons, communities and even entire States that occupy and rely upon low-lying coastal lands, tundra and Arctic ice, arid lands, and other delicate ecosystems and at risk territories for their housing and subsistence face the greatest threats from climate change.

Peoples’ Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival - People Summit Declaration (climaterights4all.com)

See List of Signatories: Signatories - People Summit Declaration (climaterights4all.com)

SIGN THE DECLARATION - Sign the Declaration - People Summit Declaration (climaterights4all.com)

Peoples’ Summit on Climate, Rights & Human Survival

This document stems from the collaboration of a diverse group of organisations attending the Peoples’ Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival in New York on 18-19 September, 2019 – the first ever global summit on human rights and climate change. This declaration outlines shared concerns, a joint vision and common policy commitments to achieve climate justice. It voices the demands of a united global movement, in which the environmental, social justice and human rights causes mutually strengthen each other to support the communities and individuals on the frontlines of the climate crisis.


I – We envisage a world where people thrive as part of nature and where human rights – including the rights of Indigenous Peoples – and the environment come before corporate profit, in an era in which people are more connected with each other and with the planet. We want to live in safe, equal, peaceful and just societies. In societies where every individual and all communities enjoy fair, secure and sustainable livelihoods; participate in decision-making on matters that affect their lives; and have access to information and justice. In a world where the commons are protected and sustainably managed by communities, and where governments and corporations act responsibly and are accountable for the consequences of their actions. We see the opportunity and urgent need to transform our economic, social, legal and political systems to ensure equity and the protection of human rights, to halt the climate crisis and mass extinctions, to protect our children’s future, to hold polluters accountable for their actions, and to make fossil fuels and all unsustainable business practices a relic of the past. We believe that this vision requires protecting, supporting and being in solidarity with those who are suffering from the violence of the climate crisis and those fighting for climate justice. 

II – We recognize that current human rights violations, discrimination, and inequalities find their roots in behaviours, mindsets, and power structures that are also at the core of the crisis threatening our planet. Protecting human rights and preserving our planet and its climate requires that we stop treating ecosystems as commodities and embrace the fact that human dignity and human rights depend on the web of life. 

III – To achieve climate justice, we must all recognize that the climate emergency threatens human survival, the environment, and the enjoyment of all human rights, for present and future generations. We must also recognize that although the climate crisis is a global problem affecting everybody, it disproportionately affects persons, groups, and peoples in vulnerable situations, who see their rights violated and who are subjected to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. The climate crisis also impacts countries unequally. It results in an increase in conflict and political instability, as well as food insecurity, displacement, and migration. We need to challenge States and anti-rights groups who are using the climate breakdown and the need for environmental protection as excuses to deny human rights. 

IV – We condemn the failure of States to take adequate measures to mitigate climate change, in particular those States who are the most responsible for the crisis and control the most resources. This failure represents a violation of States’ human rights obligations. Similarly, the failure to take sufficient and effective measures to enhance resilience to the harms of climate change, domestically and abroad, further perpetuates these violations – particularly among those who are marginalized and have the least capacity to cope. 

V – We are alarmed that States continue to adopt and promote ill-designed climate policies and actions that ultimately result in human rights violations, often at the expense of the people and communities who are already most affected by the impacts of climate change and have done the least to create the crisis. Inadequate and poorly-designed climate measures can lead to the advancement of false solutions that continue emitting carbon, perpetuate the fossil fuel-dependent economy, and expose people to risks, which impact human rights – particularly those of Indigenous Peoples and others facing discrimination. 

VI – States have been complicit in the corporate perpetuation of climate change and have largely failed to regulate the actions of corporations in this matter or to ensure accountability for human rights abuses and environmental damage, despite their legal obligations to do so. Indeed, many States support policies, including trade and investment treaties, that promote and grant corporate privileges, benefits, and impunity to climate- destroying industries. 

VII – We acknowledge that certain businesses – particularly the fossil fuel industry and large-scale agribusiness – and their financial backers are at the core of the destruction of our climate. Many such businesses have wilfully disregarded their responsibility to respect human rights, further contributing to infringements of the human rights of women, children, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and other disproportionately-affected groups, and to the destruction of ecosystems across the planet. In particular, the fossil fuel industry has known about the impacts of its products for decades and failed to warn some of their investors, the public, communities, and other stakeholders, while simultaneously engaging in a sophisticated campaign of climate misinformation and denial. 

VIII – We reiterate that States have human rights obligations to ensure adequate responses to the climate crisis. Such responses must recognize and prioritize the most marginalized and affected communities as the drivers of change. Fulfilling these obligations is the only way to guarantee more effective, sustainable and equitable actions and a just transition towards climate justice. 

IX – We also understand from traditional knowledge and science that centring mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage climate policies on human rights contributes to more effective and just responses, all of which results in increased ambition on climate action. 

X – We are extremely concerned that killings, gender-based violence, threats, harassment, and criminalization of environmental human rights defenders are escalating all over the world and often go unpunished. We pay particular attention to those who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and who are most at risk of attacks and restrictions based on gender, race, and other forms of discrimination, such as women human rights defenders, indigenous rights defenders, and other excluded and marginalized defenders and communities. We will defend all those who peacefully demonstrate and engage in acts of civil disobedience to demand climate action from undue repression and persecution. We demand the recognition of the important role of environmental human rights defenders in strengthening policy-making, accessing rights, and campaigning for sustainable development. 

XI – The climate crisis can and must be addressed. An array of effective policy and technical solutions are already known, available and immediately deployable. Governments and corporations bear the primary responsibility for taking the actions that could address and reverse the drivers of climate change and build resilient, adaptable and sustainable communities. We will invigorate our existing efforts around mobilizing the most powerful, united and diverse Peoples’ movement ever assembled. Real and transformative climate action will not be possible without a fully-engaged civil society and population. 

To achieve climate justice, we, the undersigned, agree to the following:

1. We will increase our efforts to place human rights at the core of climate activism. We will do so by following the lead of Indigenous Peoples, youth, women, people living in poverty, persons with disabilities, fisherfolk, peasants, pastoralists, local communities, workers, and other disproportionately-affected groups, who are leading the call for climate justice and against activities that destroy the planet. 

2. We will demand immediate, bold, people-powered and human rights-consistent action of unprecedented scale to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in order to protect people, ecosystems, and biodiversity from the climate breakdown. Such actions require transformative change of our economic, social and political systems, to address inequalities in all aspects of life. This transformative change includes the equitable distribution of resources, particularly reducing the unnecessary consumption of resources by privileged groups. It is essential that we achieve drastic and rapid reductions in emissions globally and a fossil-free future, to keep the temperature rise as low as possible and no higher than 1.5°C degrees, as current levels of warming are already resulting in human rights violations. 

3. We will demand that all government climate policies, measures, and actions respect, protect and fulfil human rights – including the right of people to be fully informed and empowered to participate in a meaningful way in climate decision- making – and that corporations fulfil their responsibilities to respect human rights across their supply chains. We will oppose any policy or action taken to combat climate change or support adaptation that comes at the cost of human rights, and those that would deepen inequalities and cause impoverishment, hunger, dispossession, and economic, social and political exclusion. 

4. We will increase the pressure on those countries and corporations most responsible for climate change and with the most resources available. We demand that all countries urgently establish and enforce science-based emission reduction targets compatible with the protection of human rights, and that they meet these targets on or ahead of schedule. We will oppose attempts to transfer the burden and responsibility for change from high-emitting countries to countries with fewer resources and lower historical emissions, and from corporations and privileged groups to less-privileged groups. We will compel those bearing more responsibility for the crisis to own their actions and take measures accordingly. 

5. We will call upon those States with the greatest responsibility for climate damage and with the most resources to provide the necessary financial and technological resources to countries in the global south to facilitate their ambitious actions for climate change mitigation and adaptation. We demand that those States also provide adequate means – including compensation – to affected communities and individuals to address the loss and damage caused by the climate crisis, in full consultation with them and respecting their individual and collective customs and rights. We will promote transparency and adequate use of those resources and will oppose the creation of additional financial burdens and debts as a result of this support. 

6. We will relentlessly challenge corporate capture of policies and institutions, and we will hold accountable climate destructive industries and their financial backers. 

7. We will demand a just, fair and inclusive transition away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable agriculture and renewable energy that empower Indigenous Peoples, workers, peasant farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, and communities, rather than disenfranchise them. We will seek measures to ensure that all people, particularly those facing discrimination, have access to climate education and to the resources, training, knowledge, and decent jobs required for a people-powered transition to a decarbonized and resilient society.

8. We will work for the protection, respect, and fulfilment of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, including to their ancestral lands and territories. We will seek the protection, recognition, and promotion of local and traditional knowledge that has proven effective and appropriate in addressing the climate crisis as well as enabling the transition and resilience so urgently needed in our food systems, always with the consent of, and for the benefit of, Indigenous Peoples. 

9. We will demand effective and adequate access to justice for individuals and communities whose rights are impacted by the climate crisis or lack of climate action – including those facing climate-induced loss and damage and those whose rights are threatened due to climate-related displacement. We will work to ensure that they are able to enjoy access to justice and effective remedies and that those responsible for climate harms are held to account. We will proactively use national, regional and international human rights bodies and legal instruments to ensure that human rights and obligations are effectively upheld to promote climate justice. 

10. We will support all environmental human rights defenders, in particular those who individually and collectively protect their territory, access to land, livelihoods, and the environment, and those campaigning to defend the people and the planet from destructive activities and climate breakdown. We will demand a safe and enabling environment in which all human rights defenders, particularly those facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and inequality, are effectively protected and able to defend and promote human rights without fear of punishment, reprisal, or intimidation.

Извор: WUNRN – 21.08.2021



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