Based on ENB report which can be accessed here.

BONN, GERMANY (June 14, 2013)– Presented by the University of Lapland, this side event, moderated by Sébastien Duyck addressed opportunities to further implement a rights-based approach within the current and future climate regime.

Duyck introduced the Human Rights and Climate Change Working Group, describing it as an informal network of legal scholars and law-oriented organizations. He noted that, since adoption of the Durban Platform, there is an opportunity to discuss human rights, not only in relation to implementation issues but also to equity.

Robert Chimambo, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), discussed mining related issues in Zambia in the last 20 years, stressing that foreign direct investments (FDI) are not environmentally friendly and do not recognize local peoples’ rights. He explained how copper mining by international companies resulted in displacement of thousands of people in Zambia, increasing their vulnerability.

Grace Balawag, Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre on Policy Research and Education (Tebtebba), said human rights should be fully integrated into any climate change decision under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and noted the importance of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Grace stressed addressing climate change problems through an integrated approach that: is based on human rights; is gender sensitive; and respects Indigenous Peoples’ culture and traditions.

Sabine Bock, Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), discussed equity principles, including: precautionary principles; common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and respective capabilities; and equitable access to sustainable development. She said these principles rely on the balance of different rights, stressing the non-discrimination principle as crosscutting in the human rights framework. Addressing ways to bring gender equality into the equity discussion, Sabine Bock, WECF, said it is essential to take different disparities into account, such as social, gender, geographic, economic and education levels, in order to find a balance.

Recalling the importance of treaties as the most solemn agreements by States, Curtis Doebbler, INTLawyers, said States’ responsibilities in relation to the UNFCCC are linked to their international human rights obligations. Referring to the equity issue, he emphasized the need to interpret it in the context of the Convention, which implies taking into account and applying the principle of CBDR.

Bridget Burns, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), noted critiques to the international rights agenda from a gender perspective, saying that, when gender rights are considered, they are often: negative rather than positive; in competition with other rights; and referred to as individual rights. Bridget also discussed gender-sensitive human rights in international climate change policy, exemplifying the safeguard approach and ways gender has been considered in the social and environmental standards (SES) discussions on REDD+.

In the subsequent discussions, participants touched upon: the responsibility of States for legal compensation; the possibility of using human rights as a normative tool to raise mitigation ambition; and ways to strengthen the normative approach of human rights in the UNFCCC process.

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