Wednesday, 17.05.2023 - Geneva, Switzerland

2023 Geneva Dialogues on Human Rights and Climate Change

The 2023 Geneva Dialogues on Human Rights and Climate Change followed up on previous editions to discuss how Geneva-based human rights institutions can contribute to further advance human rights-based climate action.

Photo: FES

The Dialogues were organized by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), Earthjustice, and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Geneva Office, with the support of the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The event was also supported by the Geneva Environment Network.

About this Event

States have obligations to protect, promote and respect human rights. This also applies in the context of climate change, as States have the duty to take measures to address climate change in order to avoid or reduce climate impacts on human rights, as well as ensure that mitigation and adaptation measures do not hinder human rights. States need to urgently and substantively scale up their ambition to prevent temperature increase of more than  1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels, noting that even existing levels of temperature change already pose  significant challenges to the protection of human rights for all. Mitigating climate change adequately will require meeting existing commitments to reduce emissions as well as enhancing the level of ambition contained in the Nationally Determined Contribution.

The Human Rights Council, Special Procedures, and Human Rights Treaty Bodies are playing a key role in identifying the rights that are affected in the context of climate change, as well as the relevant obligations of States. For instance, in October 2021, the Human Rights Council created the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change. These institutions and mechanisms have the potential to further their work and craft more specific observations and recommendations on mitigation, adaptation, Loss and Damage, international finance and cooperation, etc.

Panelists and participants took stock of the relevant work that has been conducted so far by the Human Rights Council, Special Procedures, the Universal Periodic Review, Human Rights Treaty Bodies and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and discussed existing gaps and potential next steps on five specific themes: addressing remedy in the context of Loss and Damage; supporting a just transition; opposing the expansion of fossil fuels; protecting civic space; and preventing further harm potentially caused by false solutions to climate change.

The recording is available via the link here.


14:00-14:45 | Opening Panel

  • Luc Dockendorf, Deputy Permanent Representative, Mission of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on behalf of  H.E. Amb. Marc Bichler, Permanent Representative, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
  • Peggy Hicks, Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures, and Right to Development Division, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • H.E. Amb. Evan P. Garcia, Permanent Representative, Philippines
  • Surya Deva, Special Rapporteur on the right to development
  • Hajo Lanz, Director, FES Geneva

14:45-16:15 | Panel 1 – Taking Stock of Climate Change in Human Rights System

  • H.E. Amb. Doreen de Brum, Permanent Representative, Republic of the Marshall Islands
  • H.E. Amb. Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative, Belgium
  • H.E. Amb. Luke Daunivalu, Permanent Representative, Fiji
  • Ian Fry, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change
  • Philip Jaffé, Committee on the Rights of the Child
  • Nahla Haidar, Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Interactive Discussion 

16:15-16:30 | Short break 

16:30-17:45 | Panel 2 – Looking Ahead: The role of human rights mechanisms in advancing rights-based climate action 

  • Basma Eid, Campaign and Membership Coordinator, International Network for Economic, Social & Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net)
  • Nithi Nesadurai, Director and Regional Coordinator, Climate Action Network Southeast Asia (CANSEA)
  • Ghazali Ohorella, International Relations and Indigenous Rights Advisor, Alifuru Council
  • Chiara Liguori, Climate Justice and Policy Adviser, Amnesty International
  • Asa Larsson Blind, Vice-President, Saami Council

Interactive Discussion 

17:45-18:00 | Closing remarks

  • Ian Fry, UN UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change
  • H.E. Mrs. Shara Duncan Villalobos, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’affaires a.i., Costa Rica
  • Marisa Hutchinson, Programme Officer, International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific

18:00-19:00 | Reception 

Geneva Office

6 bis, Chemin du Point-du-Jour
1202 Geneva

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