Human rights in climate action

Climate change is not just an environmental issue but a threat to human rights. Extreme weather-related disasters, droughts, and rising seas are already affecting millions of people across the world. While people’s lives, health, and livelihoods are devastated or threatened both in developed and developing countries, it is primarily the impoverished and marginalised communities and the indigenous peoples that pay the highest price for climate change.

In addition, climate change policy is a very delicate task as not only the impacts of climate change but also actions to mitigate it, can harm human rights. While well intentioned, certain climate mitigation actions implemented under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or other national and international programmes have caused harm to the environment and people, even infringing on the rights to life, health, food, water and sanitation, housing, culture, among others.  

Parties to the UNFCCC recognise that they must respect human rights in all climate-related actions, but these obligations have not always materialised in the planning and implementation of climate mitigation projects.

Carbon Market Watch calls for robust international processes to ensure that climate actions are planned, implemented and monitored in a way that protects human rights, including the rights of affected communities and indigenous people.