The impacts of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights are becoming more apparent both in Asia and Europe. There is a growing common concern about the adoption of climate change response measures requiring more concrete action, commitment, and accountability among relevant all stakeholders.
The Co-organisers of the Informal ASEM Human Rights Seminar series, in partnership with Climate Action and Human Rights Institute (CAHRI), delivered a capacity-building training programme on Human Rights and Climate Change in October-November 2022. Entitled “Climate Action: Human Rights-Based Approaches to Adaptation and Mitigation Challenges”, the 7-week online training built on the “21st Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights and Climate Change” which, besides calling for ASEM Partners to foster the ability for civil society and communities to participate in climate policymaking through training and capacity building, underscored the urgent necessity of integrating human rights into climate change law in Asia and Europe and called on governments to strengthen their efforts in delivering human rights-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The training, which engaged a total of 37 participants from 21 ASEM nationalities, was directed at ASEM government agencies and civil society organisations working in international human rights law, environmental law, or climate change mitigation and adaptation. The aim of the programme was to provide the participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to help their governments and organisations to respond with human rights-based mitigation and adaptation solutions to the impacts of climate change. In addition, the training provided them with tools on how to design climate action responses that are in accordance with international human rights obligations and standards, with consideration to the rights of future generations.
The training programme examined the interrelationship between human rights and climate change from multiple perspectives. It provided an overview of the science of climate change and its anthropogenic nature, the duty of states as primary duty-bearers for upholding human rights obligations, and the responsibilities of businesses in addressing the impacts of climate change on human rights. The training shed light on the disproportionate impacts of climate change on certain sectors such as Indigenous Peoples, women, older persons, and persons with disabilities, among others, and shared best practices and recommendations on how to ensure participation and access of such sectors for an inclusive decision-making process. The training also covered climate justice and trends in climate litigation across Asia and Europe, and how these actions can move both states and the private sector towards more ambitious climate ambitions and targets.
During the 2-month programme, participants benefited from the trainers’ vast and varied expertise in the field of human rights, environmental law and climate science. The training was honoured to have esteemed, internationally renowned academics, scientists, and representatives of international organisations, including Dr Ian FRY, the first United Nations Special Rapporteur for the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change, as speakers through the following sessions:
- The Science of Climate Change by Jose Ramon T VILLARIN SJ, Manila Observatory
- Climate Change Impacts on Marginalised Groups by Chiara LIGUORI, Policy Advisor, Amnesty International
- Human Rights and Energy Transition by Mark DUMMETT, Head of Business, Security and Human Rights, Amnesty International
- Human Rights and Climate Litigation by Dr Annalisa SAVARESI, Associate Professor, University of Eastern Finland, Centre for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law
- Business, Human Rights and Climate Change by Tim Fish HODGSON, Legal Adviser, International Commission of Jurists
- Duties of States by Dr Ashfaq KHALFAN, Director of Climate Justice, Oxfam
- Climate Change and Risk Assessment – How Science can Influence Policy by Professor Peter C. FRUMHOFF, Senior Science Policy Advisor at the Woodwell Climate Research Center, and Professor of Public Policy and Environmental Science at Harvard University
- Human Rights Based Approach to Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation by Maria Socorro ‘Cookie’ I. DIONKNO, Free Legal Assistance Group, the Philippines
- The Broad Concept of Remedies and Non-Judicial Access to Justice Mechanisms for Human Rights Protection by Roberto CADIZ, President, CAHRI, former Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines
- The Climate Finance Architecture and Trends in Climate Financing by MAY Thazin Aung, International Institute for Environment and Development
- Best Practices in Human Rights-based Climate Adaptation by Lorna Regina Bautista LEGARDA, Senator of the Republic of the Philippines
- Climate Change Mitigation: Implications for Human Rights by Dr Ian FRY, United Nations Special Rapporteur for on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change
The Climate Action and Human Rights Institute (CAHRI) envisions the full enjoyment of all human rights by all people, in a clean and sustainable environment and a stable climate system. Its mission is to help achieve this vision through education, policy formulation, executive action, and global cooperation. Working under the auspices of the Institute of Environmental Science for Social Change at the Ateneo de Manila University, CAHRI is composed of the core team which handled the National Inquiry in Climate Change (NICC), conducted by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP). Read more.
The Informal ASEM Human Rights Seminar series is organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (nominated by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
ASEF’s contribution is with the support of the European Union.
For more information about the programme, go here.