2022 Concept Note
Climate Crisis and Human Rights
The 12th World Human Rights Cities Forum
10~13 October 2022
Gwangju, Republic of Korea
Humanity has recently found itself amidst crisis, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the war in Ukraine, in addition to numerous other human rights issues such as socioeconomic polarization and inequality, as well as the digital divide caused by advanced technologies. The crisis caused by climate change, however, is becoming the most widespread universal human rights violation, endangering the very existence of humanity.
The international community has long approached the issue of climate change from a human rights perspective, including the Local Governments Climate Roadmap by UCLG in 2007 and the Paris Agreement (COP 21) in 2015. More specifically, the UN Human Rights Council began to express concern in its 2008 Resolution, stating that climate change “poses an immediate and far-reaching threat to people and communities around the world.” In October 2021, the Human Rights Council recognized for the first time the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The 2022 IPCC Sixth Assessment Report assessed that climate change has already brought diverse impacts on human systems, including impacts on water security and food production, health and wellbeing, and cities, settlements and infrastructure.
Climate change poses a grave threat to the stable foundation of all areas of life, with people’s rights worsening through food shortage, poverty, infectious diseases, job insecurity, displacement, and diverse forms of inequality. In this regard, the actions or inactions by decision-makers at the local level exert significant consequences on the human rights of people, and thus we need to devise measures for the protection of human rights at the local level with global level solidarity.
Theme and Approaches
The theme of the 12th World Human Rights Cities Forum is “Climate Change and Human Rights,” recognizing climate change as one of the biggest threats to human rights and a sustainable future. We are aware that, just as climate change is a problem requiring a global solution, so the human rights issues caused by climate change also call on the whole of humanity to work together in solidarity. In the process of finding implementations of the goal, a human rights-based approach will be at the heart of the forum, while sharing a variety of information and best practices on climate change responses and mobilizing the participation of youth and various stakeholders.
The 12th World Human Rights Cities Forum will comprehensively discuss climate change and human rights at both local and global levels, considering the following four points.
1. What are the major human rights issues linked to climate change?
We will identify the correlation between climate change and human rights, and diagnose human rights issues in various areas such as the environment, economy, education, culture, and housing, both for current and future generations.
2. Who are more vulnerable to climate change?
We will explore ways to locate vulnerable groups suffering more severely than others from climate change and seek ways to address diverse forms of discrimination and inequalities occurring in various areas.
3. What are innovative actions to take to counter climate change?
In order to achieve a human rights-based transition in the context of climate change, we will interpret climate justice from the perspective of human rights and discuss values and practices to realize it.
4. How can we promote international solidarity to cope with climate change?
We will find useful ways to share information and practical experience to protect human rights and seek principles and guidelines for cooperation and joint practices at local and global levels.
[The 12th WHRCF] Concept Note.pdf (244.9K)
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