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Press briefing notes on Climate Change

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani

Location: Geneva

Date: 16 March 2021

Climate change poses the biggest existential threat to humankind and indeed to the survival of our shared world. So what can be done? What should States do? Businesses?

To help answer these questions and promote better policies for people and the planet, the UN Human Rights Office has just published a fact sheet addressing human rights and climate change.

The fact sheet describes the links between climate change and human rights. It highlights the obligations of States and businesses under international human rights law - both to mitigate climate change to prevent its adverse impact on human rights and to ensure that everyone is able to adapt to the negative effects of climate change.

It's the most comprehensive guidance on rights-based climate action issued by the UN Human Rights Office to date, providing examples of climate litigation, the rights of future generations, and the role of international cooperation and solidarity in climate action. It also underscores how the global recognition of the human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment may positively affect climate action.

The fact sheet offers recommendations for forward-looking, rights-compliant climate action at all levels – aimed at protecting both people and the planet from climate change in the years to come.


The Fact Sheet also provides an overview of the efforts of various human rights bodies to address climate change – and the role of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Conference of the Parties in promoting rights-based climate action. It builds on the extensive research and advocacy work that the Office has undertaken on climate change since the adoption of the first Human Rights Council resolution on human rights and climate change in 2008.

The Fact Sheet is number 38 in a series of Fact Sheets on a range of topics issued by the UN Human Rights Office that aim to increase understanding of human rights and related issues – including the international human rights system.


For more information and media requests, please contact:

Ravina Shamdasani - + 41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org or
Rupert Colville + 41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org or
Liz Throssell + 41 22 917 9296 / ethrossell@ohchr.org or
Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / mhurtado@ohchr.org

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