Tenth Session of the Human Rights Council Discusses Relationship of Climate Change and Human Rights, Adopts OHCHR Report

Photo credit, OHCHR

27 March 2009: The tenth special session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) convened from 2-27 March 2009, at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland. The Council considered and endorsed the Report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the relationship between climate change and human rights (A/HRC/10/61). The Council also adopted a resolution on human rights and climate change.

The Report of the OHCHR was informed by 30 submissions received from member States, and over 32 submissions from other relevant international organizations and intergovernmental bodies, and non-governmental organizations. The report advocates for a human rights-based approach for climate change mitigation and adaptation that promotes the empowerment of individuals and groups as active agents of change and not as passive victims. The report stresses the importance of effective participation and highlights the impact of climate change on those already living in vulnerable situations due to poverty, gender, age, minority status and disability.

The Council also adopted without a vote a resolution on human rights and climate change (A/HRC/10/L.30), in which it: decides to hold a panel discussion on the relationship between climate change and human rights at its 11th session, in order to contribute to the realization of the goals set out in the Bali Action Plan, and forward the summary of the discussion to the UNFCCC Conference of Parties for its consideration; welcomes the decision of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living to prepare and present a thematic report on the potential impact of climate change on the right to adequate housing; and encourages the OHCHR to participate during the High-level Meeting on Climate Change, to be held ahead of the general debate of the 64th session of the General Assembly, and at the 15th session of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC. [OHCHR Press Release] [The Report] [UN Press Release]