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The Paris Agreement as a Human Rights Treaty

“The Paris Agreement is crucial to protecting the human rights of present and future generations in all countries of the world. The agreement should recognize this fact,” the Special Rapporteur concluded. Representatives of more than 190 states are meeting in Paris to discuss a possible new universal and legally binding agreement on climate change that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the risk of dangerous warming of human activities. OHCHR also participated in the Durban Forum on Capacity Building, the Paris Committee on Capacity Building, the Talanoa Dialogue, the Workshop on Action on Climate Empowerment, the Workshop on Gender Equality, the Workshop on Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples and a series of multilateral and bilateral discussions on human rights and climate change. The guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement adopted at COP24 provide entry points for OHCHR`s continued engagement in areas such as the global stocktaking and the preparation of Nationally Determined Contributions and adaptation communications. The negotiations that led to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the first universal and legally binding climate agreement that explicitly includes human rights, were concluded at COP21. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has explicitly called for a 1.5°C target, a sign of great ambition, supported by the results of several special HRC procedural mechanisms in a 1.5-degree report requested by the Climate Vulnerability Forum and by the findings of the scientific community in the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The human rights case for higher ambitions, including the aforementioned report on joint special procedures, provided the “highly focused coalition,” which led to the adoption of an ambitious 1.5°C target with a rigid ceiling of 2.0 degrees. In 2018, the Office chaired a joint submission by OHCHR, UN Women and ILO to the Durban Forum on Capacity Building, which led to the Forum on Human Rights Capacity Building for Climate Action with the continued support of OHCHR, an issue that was again addressed by the Paris Committee on Capacity Building. The Paris Agreement provides a sustainable framework that guides global efforts for decades to come. The aim is to increase countries` climate ambitions over time.

To this end, the agreement provides for two review processes, each to be carried out in a five-year cycle. The following are measures and resources related to OHCHR`s efforts to integrate human rights into climate change mitigation and adaptation, in particular with regard to the UNFCCC. “There is no longer any doubt that climate change threatens the enjoyment of various human rights. Moreover, it is inherently discriminatory and harms most of those who have contributed the least to the problem. “An increase of even 2 degrees would have a devastating impact on the human rights of the most vulnerable,” he said. “The 1.5-degree target proposed by the Climate Vulnerability Forum would be more in line with human rights principles. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Human Rights Council (HRC) are working to highlight the links between climate change and human rights and are calling for a rights-based approach as a guide for global climate change policies and actions. The Human Rights Council stresses the importance of addressing human rights in the context of discussions in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Bureau convened an expert meeting on climate change and human rights, during which States, civil society organizations, United Nations organizations and experts participated in interactive discussions with several stakeholders and developed recommendations for human rights-based action, which have been presented at several side events. OHCHR participated in and supported a number of them, distributed information materials, sponsored expert groups on indigenous peoples` rights and the right to health, and participated in numerous bilateral and multilateral meetings with negotiators, civil society and other stakeholders. In order to strengthen its cooperation with the UNFCCC, the Bureau presented opinions on the Nairobi Work Programme (Adaptation and Health), the Lima Work Programme (Gender), the Paris Capacity Building Committee and modalities for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Mechanism.

(*) Paris Climate Change Conference – COP21: The Human Rights Council has stressed the importance of addressing human rights in the context of the ongoing discussions on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. .

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