I’ve recently been excited and inspired to hope by seeing the number of litigation cases (governments or companies being sued by young people or afflicted groups) on climate change increasing around the world (side event, USA, 15 other cases)
However, in a (much more recent) meeting, a climate lawyer said that while it’s really important, it’s not really the work we want to be doing – helping communities once their rights have been violated. They’d much rather help prevent those rights from being violated in the first place…
As the guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement (aka the Paris Rulebook) are drawn up, this is a key opportunity to reinforce the protection of several rights based principles which are recognised in the beginning paragraphs of the Paris Agreement.
Different groups working on several topics have come together to collectively fight for both their and each others rights to be included in the reporting of NDCs (the pledge that each country has committed to under the Paris Agreement). A similar group realised we were stronger together in the run up to COP21, which resulted in many rights based principles being recognised in the ‘preamble’ of the Paris Agreement. Now in the run up to COP24 we have come together again to fight for the ‘Great 8’ elements:
- public participation;
- indigenous peoples and local communities;
- just transition;
- human rights;
- food security;
- ensuring ecosystem integrity and the protection of biodiversity
- intergenerational equity.
If you take one out, the Rulebook crumbles!
Why are we fighting to tackle climate change? Because it’s an injustice that will affect those who didn’t cause it far more than those who have benefited from its cause, particularly including indigenous peoples, women and future generations? Because it is threatening our food supply, jobs and livelihoods? Because it is interlinked with the destruction of so many habitats and natural ecosystems? Because it provides an opportunity to improve our society? Whatever our reasons, it seems meaningless to be tackling climate change without respecting, promoting and protecting our human rights while doing so.