Climate change is not only an environmental issue, but one of the greatest human rights challenge facing our generation. Rising seas threaten the residents of small island nations. South American and Himalayan communities are losing their only sources of freshwater as mountain glaciers melt, while intruding seas contaminate groundwater in coastal communities. Millions of people in low-lying areas are the victims of increasingly severe floods and storms. Melting snow and ice threaten the food and security of Arctic peoples. These and other effects are destroying the culture of indigenous and other communities around the world.

Just as climate change has serious impacts on human rights, the responses taken to address climate change have direct and indirect implications for the full and effective enjoyment of human rights.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UN Human Rights Council, and others have recognized that climate change is not only an environmental but also a human rights issue for the millions of people and communities around the world experiencing these adverse impacts.