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International solidarity and climate change – Report of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity (A/HRC/44/44) [EN/AR/RU/ZH]

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Human Rights Council
Forty-fourth session
15 June–3 July 2020
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Summary

The present report is the third submitted to the Human Rights Council by the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, Obiora Chinedu Okafor.
In the report, submitted pursuant to Council resolution 35/3, the Independent Expert discusses the issue of human rights-based international solidarity in the context of climate change.

I. Introduction

  1. After reporting to the Human Rights Council in June 2019, the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, Obiora Chinedu Okafor, presented his second thematic report to the General Assembly, in which he discussed human rights-based international solidarity in the context of global refugee protection. The Independent Expert conducted one country visit in 2019, to Qatar from 2 to 10 September. The Independent Expert thanks Costa Rica and Bolivia for the positive replies received from his requests for visits and reminds other States about the need for positive replies to his requests to visit.

  2. In the present report, the Independent Expert engages with one of the thematic priorities that he established for his mandate, namely the enjoyment, or lack thereof, of human rights-based international solidarity in the context of climate change. This subject is consistent with the promise made in his first report to the Human Rights Council (see A/HRC/38/40) to examine matters that lie at the intersection of international solidarity and climate change. An important goal of the report is to better illuminate the role of human rights-based international solidarity in responding to climate change, which is a common concern of humanity. A complementary objective is to strengthen the appreciation of the role that the lack of human rights-based international solidarity plays in exacerbating the challenges brought upon the world by climate change.

  3. The Independent Expert considered it pressing to address the issues identified in the report, given the tragic impacts of climate change across the world, the fact that greenhouse gas emissions reached a record high in 2018, 1 and that diverse States, peoples and institutions are striving to contribute to the avoidance of further climate change-induced harm. It is hoped that the analysis, conclusions and recommendations offered here will – from a human rights perspective – support the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement and the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; the programming of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on a just transition to sustainable economic systems; negotiations to regulate transnational corporations under international human rights law; the struggles of relevant social movements; and other relevant endeavours.

  4. The report is divided into five sections. This first section introduces the report. In section II, a background on human rights-based international solidarity in the context of climate change is provided. Section III is devoted to a discussion and analysis of positive expressions of human rights-based international solidarity in the context of climate change (good practices). In section IV, key human rights-based international solidarity gaps in the context of climate change are identified and analysed (areas to be improved). Section V offers brief concluding remarks and recommendations.

  5. It should be noted that the report does not deal with the topic of climate governance in and of itself, nor does it aim to reargue the case for a link between climate change and human rights. The international human rights community has documented the relationship between human rights and climate change for over a decade (see A/HRC/41/39). The present report focuses strictly on key issues that lie at the intersection of human rightsbased international solidarity and climate change. Even so, given the vastness of the topic, the report does not consider every issue or problem that falls within this scope.