PARIS, France (Dec. 3, 2015) – On Thursday, key representatives, including WEDO’s Bridget Burns, of three officially-recognized UNFCCC constituencies and other civil society working groups called for negotiators to protect human rights language in the critical purpose paragraph.

In an unprecedented process, five UNFCCC recognized constituencies (Climate Action Network; Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus; Trade Union Non-Governmental Organizations; Women & Gender Constituency; Young Non-Governmental Organizations), ad hoc working groups (Accra Caucus; Human Rights & Climate Change Working Group and REDD+ Safeguards Working Group), and faith-based, environmental and climate justice organizations, came together to develop textual language that would be at the heart of the Paris Accord. The proposed language is below:

This Agreement shall be implemented on the basis of equity and science, in [full] accordance with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities [in the light of national circumstances] [the principles and provisions of the Convention], while also ensuring the integrity and resilience of natural ecosystems and ensuring the respect, protection, promotion and fulfillment of human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples; gender equality and the full and equal participation of women; intergenerational equity; a just transition of the workforce that creates decent work and quality jobs; and food security.

To date, the purpose paragraph (Art 2.2) is highly contentious in the negotiations. Representatives from the above constituencies spoke about the significance of the elements of the proposed language.

Bridget highlighted the necessity of these elements and equal representation in developing solutions suggesting, “we need look no further than Monday’s Heads of State photo to see we have an issue with equal representation—at least I don’t think the majority of the 7 billion people on the planet, and those most impacted by climate change, all wear navy blue power suits.”

Speakers included: Bridget Burns (WEDO/Women & Gender Constituency) Andrea Carmen (Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus) Monica Camacho (REDD+ Safeguards Working Group) [TBD] (Trade Union Non-Governmental Organizations) Kelly Stone (ActionAid USA)

Moderated by: Joseph Amon (Human Rights Watch)

Missed it live? Watch the webcast here:

Read Bridget’s full remarks here.

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