Human Rights Council resolutions on human rights and climate change

The Human Rights Council has contributed to raising awareness of the links between human rights and climate change by successive and targeted clarifications of the ways climate change affects human rights, including through the adoption of a series of resolutions related to climate change and human rights. The Council has adopted the following resolutions on climate change:

  • Resolution 42/21 (July 2019): The Council recognized that the rights of persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected by the negative impacts of climate change. It requested the Office to prepare an analytical study on the promotion and the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change and a panel discussion at its 44th session on the same topic.
  • Resolution 38/4 (July 2018): The Council recognized that the integration of a gender-responsive approach into climate policies would increase the effectiveness of climate change mitigation and adaptation, requesting an analytical study and a panel discussion on the topic.
  • Resolution 35/20 (July 2017): The Council noted the urgency of protecting and promoting the human rights of migrants and persons displaced across international borders in the context of the adverse impact of climate change. It called for an intersessional panel discussion on the issue as well as a report on human rights protection gaps in the context of migration and displacement of persons across international borders.
  • Resolution 32/33 (July 2016): The Council urged Parties to integrate human rights in climate change mitigation and adaptation, and called for a panel discussion on the adverse impact of climate change on the rights of the child to be held at its 34th session.
  • Resolution 29/15 (July 2015): The Council emphasized the urgency of continuing to address the adverse consequences of climate change for all and called for a panel discussion and analytical study on the impacts of climate change on the enjoyment of the right to health.
  • Resolution 26/27 (July 2014): The Council emphasized the need for all States to enhance international dialogue and cooperation to address the adverse impacts of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights including the right to development. It called for dialogue, capacity-building, mobilization of financial resources, technology transfer, and other forms of cooperation to facilitate climate change adaptation and mitigation, in order to meet the special needs and circumstances of developing countries.
  • Resolution 18/22 (September 2011): The Council affirmed that human rights obligations, standards, and principles have the potential to inform and strengthen international and national policy-making in the area of climate change, promoting policy coherence, legitimacy, and sustainable outcomes.
  • Resolution 10/4 (March 2009): The Council noted that "climate change-related impacts have a range of implications, both direct and indirect, for the effective enjoyment of human rights …" and that such effects "will be felt most acutely by those segments of the population who are already in a vulnerable situation …."
  • Resolution 7/23 (March 2008): The Council expressed concern that climate change "poses an immediate and far-reaching threat to people and communities around the world" and requested OHCHR to prepare a study on the relationship between climate change and human rights.
  • The Council has also addressed the issue of the impact of climate change in the framework of its work on human rights and the environment, particularly resolutions 16/11 (2011), 19/10 (2012), 25/21 (2014), 28/11 (2015), 31/8 (2016), 34/20 (2017) and 37/8 (2018).