February 2016 Newsletter

The sixteenth newsletter is now available!  It describes the two most recent reports of the Special Rapporteur to the Human Rights Council, which are now available at the UN website, here.  The report to the Human Rights Council on climate change and human rights, A/HRC/31/52, reviews the effects of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights and outlines the application of human rights obligations to climate-related actions. The report assesses the Paris Agreement in light of the procedural and substantive human rights obligations of States relating to climate change. It concludes that in order to ensure that global temperatures do not rise to levels that would impair a vast range of human rights, States should fully implement all of their commitments in connection with the Paris Agreement and strengthen their commitments in the future. Each State must also adopt a legal and institutional framework that assists those within its jurisdiction to adapt to the unavoidable effects of climate change. In all of these actions, States must take care to protect the rights of the most vulnerable.

The report on implementation, A/HRC/31/53, describes possible methods of implementing human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a healthy environment, which would further the following goals, among others: (a) disseminating information about the human rights norms relating to the environment; (b) building capacity; (c) protecting the rights of those who are most vulnerable; and (d) strengthening cooperation between different actors.  The report is addressed to all those in a position to implement human rights norms in relation to the environment, including the Human Rights Council and other intergovernmental organizations; regional human rights bodies and other regional organizations; Governments and national human rights institutions; civil society organizations; and myself.