The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 following the Stockholm Conference on environmental protection. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, it has a mandate to collect and assess environmental data at every level and to coordinate the development of policy instruments for environmental protection. Since 2013, UNEP has been joined by the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), tasked with monitoring and assessing individual nations’ effective efforts to manage the environmental impacts of climate change, chemicals management, green technology development and the transition to a green economy.
The actions that will be taken in the coming decades to counter the causes and impacts of climate change will increasingly be at the heart of every aspect of the administration of every society on the planet. The Conferences of the Parties (COPs) of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in particular seem to be increasingly influencing the agenda of other UN bodies and entities, making it clear that no societal challenge can any longer be addressed without taking climate into account. This is not new to that part of civil society working on climate, environment and human rights issues, but for a great many specialists and policymakers, this new dimension has only taken shape in recent years.
On December 10 we celebrate the World Human Rights Day, a reflection on the link between human rights and climate is not avoidable.
The UN climate negotiations are not only about climate but also about human rights, the key to ensuring that people and the environment are not sacrificed in the name of emissions reductions. Chiara Soletti, Policy Advisor and Coordinator of the Climate and Human Rights section, reports on the situation at COP26 in Glasgow.
Sarah Everard’s femicide highlights the inadequacy of policies tackling violence against women, where blame is often shifted from aggressors to victims. We speak to Jackson Katz, who works with men to prevent such injustice.
Climate change represents a risk for millions of people. However, women are the most vulnerable with respect to the negative consequences of this phenomenon. A few simple considerations of the Italian Climate Network help us to perceive its global effect.
On the day corresponding to the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the Declaration of Human Rights the second week of the United Nations climate change negotiations will begin at Katowice in Poland (COP24). The negotiators are currently working to define the Paris Rulebook and, that is, the system of rules that will indicate to the Parties of the Paris Agreement how and when action should be undertaken to limit the consequences of climate change and maintain the increase in the average global temperature within 1.5 degrees.
The 2018 Climate Bonds Initiative Annual Forum has seen a high participation, with major stakeholders engaging with issuers and investors. As in the previous editions of the event, a wide range of green finance/climate finance topics has been discussed, but this year social issues have made their appearance in the program, with a roundtable entirely dedicated to Just Transition.
During sessions of the Conferences of the Parties, the UNFCCC organises meetings dedicated to the most urgent climate issues. Yesterday a Gender Day was held at the COP23 Conference, a day dedicated to gender rights and the various adversities that women and men have to contend with in relation to climate change.
On this occasion, at one of the events occurring during the negotiations, Rachel Kyte (UN Special Representative for Sustainable Energy and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All) announced the launching of the 'People-Centered Accelerator', an important initiative aimed at facilitating access to energy for socially vulnerable groups.
Two days after the end of the UNFCC intermediate negotiations held in Bonn, the debate continues with regard to the impact of the Trump Administration's decisions with respect to the environment. From the very beginning of the negotiations, the United States have sent out signals that are not very encouraging, participating in the discussions with a delegation of only seven members. The fact in itself is particularly important given that China and India, which are among the countries chiefly responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, were represented in Bonn by a significant number of delegates, forty of whom were from China alone.
At the 22nd Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change a Gender Day was once again specifically dedicated to raising awareness with respect to equality between the sexes within the sphere of climate change and environmental issues. The day began with a state-of-play and updating session concerning the work of the particular interest group dedicated to women's rights, the UN Women and Gender Constituency (WGC).
The second chapter of the sixth IPCC report deals with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability to climate change and is probably the most “social” one presented by the group. In this sense, the new publication completes the range of indications provided so far by the group on the characteristics and criticality of the phenomenon of climate change – in August 2021, in fact, the first chapter was presented, the one on the most up-to-date scientific evidence.
Every climate conference has goals. Important topics have been addressed at this COP: transparency, climate finance, NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions), Article 6 and human rights, adaptation and loss and damage. Here is a specific commentary on each of these negotiation topics that Italian Climate Network followed directly with its Observers.
As the world gathers for COP26, Brooke Policy Advisor Chiara Soletti discusses the need for governments to recognise working animals and their intersectional role in many of the priorities of the sustainable development and climate action agenda.
It was established that Friday 13th December 2019 would be the last day of the Madrid negotiations on climate issues. On that day, during the press conference held at 7 pm, the Chilean Presidency of the Assembly announced that the negotiations would be prolonged. It was not expected that they would be extended until 15th December, making this the longest period of negotiations in the history of the UNFCCC. In the meantime, civil society has not spared itself and has used every additional hour of this process to promote the integration of human rights in the texts subject to negotiation.
This is a day dedicated to human rights at the Madrid climate negotiations, and civil society became mobilized at dawn following a long evening of work and endless waiting. Following the plenary session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 51) of the Paris Agreement, which was concluded late yesterday evening, the activists present at the meeting shared their disappointment when they were informed that no decisions had been made regarding a series of points in the agreement closely related to human rights. The challenge over the next few hours will be to succeed in putting pressure on the institutional officials present today at the COP meeting in order to convince them to reintegrate these principles and ensure that the Paris Agreement is implemented in a fair and effective manner for everyone.
On the 9th of September, the second intermediate session of the UN’s Climate Negotiations for 2018 was concluded in Bangkok, Indonesia. Right now, the negotiators are concentrating on writing the “Paris Agreement working programme”, a document which aims at establishing the modalities and the timeframes with which the Parties – the adhering countries – will have to work towards the fulfilment of the objectives mentioned in the Agreement. The slowness in finding some common guidelines on various topics, among which Climatic Finance, of the first intermediate session, made an extra summoning of the three subsidiary boards instituted within the frame of the UNFCCC necessary (the Subsidiary Board for Implementation – SBI, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice – SBSTA and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement). The objective is that of remaining faithful to the task assigned in 2016, which was to adopt the key decisions of the “Work programme” by the end of COP24, which will be held in December this year at Katowice, in Poland.
At the Conferences of the Parties (COP) for negotiations on climate policy for just under a decade various interest groups - referred to as 'Constituencies' - have existed and operate within the sphere of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to promote policies and projects relevant to their values and ideas.
These bodies include the Women and Gender Constituency, a particular interest group that promotes the inclusion of rights and interests of women and other gender groups within the sphere of climate and environmental issues. This Constituency, which began in 2009 with the participation of a small number of individuals and organisations, has become an increasingly important actor within the UNFCCC. It is also thanks to the work of this group if in 2015 civil society was able to voice its opinions in negotiations and succeeded in having principles relating to human rights included in the text of the Paris Agreement.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights published the first Report on the relationship between human rights and climate change at Geneva in March 2009. This was indeed an important moment for the international community because the social, cultural and economic consequences of the phenomenon were formally recognized.
The integrity of the environment is a prerequisite for the full enjoyment of human rights: a degraded environment may indeed affect the exercise of fundamental freedoms, to the point of threatening, in severe cases, the right to life. It is in such a scenario that the struggle to defend human rights is intertwined with that relating to the protection of the environment, adopting an approach whereby the two strongly-interdependent areas may not be separated.
With respect to matters relating to climate change women should be one of the first points of reference in every discussion on account of their central role in society and their greater vulnerability. On the contrary, in the international debate the representation of women is not proportionate to the risks women are exposed to in the event of environmental disasters. For this reason in the run-up to the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) it is important to present the work of female diplomatic representatives or local activists who are achieving outstanding results in the field of climate justice.