Protecting People and the Planet: a proposal to address the human rights impacts of climate change policy

International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
Center for Law & Global Justice, University of San Francisco, School of Law
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To ensure that responses to global climate changes are effective, sustainable, and advance global human development, security, equality, and freedom, this paper proposes that the Conference of Parties (COP) mandate a Process within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to support states in the development and implementation of policy. This Process, to include the full range of stakeholders – including state representatives, international human rights and humanitarian agencies, and civil society – would make certain that all mitigation and adaptation policies incorporate international human rights standards and best practices. In so doing, this Process would advance the United Nations’ goal to promote peace and security through the protection of human rights. The incorporation of a rightsbased approach would also enable the UNFCCC to make human rights a cross-cutting issue, consistent with the call for UN processes and agencies to incorporate human rights-based approaches in their work. Above all, this Process would strengthen the sustainability and effectiveness of climate change policies.