Human Rights & Climate Change
Climate change is a major global issue of common concern to the international community. It is also one of the greatest threats to human rights of our time. The impacts of climate change, the unsustainable management and use of natural resources, the pollution of air, land and water, the resulting loss of biodiversity and the decline in services provided by ecosystems, preclude a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment which is integral to the full enjoyment of a vast range of human rights, including the rights to life, health, food, water and development. At the same time, the exercise of human rights, including the rights to information, participation, and remedy, is vital to the protection of the environment and for mitigation of the impacts of climate change.
States have a human rights obligation to prevent the foreseeable adverse effects of climate change and ensure that those affected by it, particularly those in vulnerable situations, have access to effective remedies and means of adaptation to enjoy lives of human dignity. While steps have been taken by countries and the international community to enhance the protection of human right in the face of climate change, the link between human rights and climate change is relatively recent. Thus, in order to improve and support effective and human rights-driven climate action, greater awareness about the connection between human rights and climate change is necessary.
By providing a platform for discussion among relevant stakeholders, including government officials from ASEM partners, academic experts and members of civil society, the 21st Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights (ASEMHRS21) aims:
- To contribute to a better understanding of the interplay between human rights and climate change
- To jointly formulate and put forward recommendations for better integration of human rights in climate change policies and actions
- To encourage cooperation and peer-learning amongst ASEM Partner countries, civil society organisations (CSOs), academic experts, and national human rights institutions (NHRIs) by facilitating the sharing of good practices, innovative ideas and knowledge in the integration of human rights in climate change-related action.
The participation in the 21st Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights will take place in four simultaneous working group discussions on the following topics:
- Reinforcing socio-ecological resilience of communities through information and public participation
- Promoting the full enjoyment of human rights by all persons affected by climate change
- Green, equitable and inclusive: Innovative ideas on international cooperation to address the impacts of climate change on human rights
- Taking stock of national and international human rights regimes to protect against the consequences of climate change
Participation & format of the event
The Seminar is an invitation-only event for which relevant participants belonging to the civil society from Asia and Europe are selected by the Co-organisers. The civil society participants comprise human rights experts & practitioners from civil society organisations (CSOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academia (universities, research institutes & think tanks).
Representatives of ASEM Partners’ Ministries / government agencies are nominated by ASEM Partners.
The Seminar also welcomes representatives from national human rights institutions (NHRIs), as well as from relevant international /regional / inter-governmental organisations.
The format of the 3-day* Seminar will consist of plenary sessions, and thematic working groups which will be under the Chatham House Rule.
The Seminar, which will be held on 15-17 March 2022*, is hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg.
Working language of the Seminar is English.
(*may be subject to change)
To register interest or to recommend an expert, please fill out the online form available here. Please note that while all expressions of interest and recommendations are duly considered, they do not guarantee invitation. Final decisions will be based on factors such as expertise, geographic distribution and gender balance and will be taken by the Steering Committee of the Human Rights Seminar.
Based on the working group discussions and the contributions of the participants, two main outputs will be produced
- the main recommendations of the working groups, which are disseminated to 53 ASEM Partners in the form of ‘Key Messages’ &
- a detailed summary of the working group discussions (Seminar report)
The outcomes from the Seminar are disseminated to a wider audience through the annual Seminar Publication and Outreach activities. Furthermore, the outcomes will contribute to the development of a human rights training programme that will be offered to a relevant audience during the second half of 2022.
The Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights series was launched in 1997 to deepen relations between civil society actors and governments in Asia and Europe on major human rights issues.
This Seminar series is co-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.
The 21st Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights will be hosted by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
For information on the past Seminars, please follow this link.