Groups Call for Robust, Rights-Based Rule Book to Implement the Paris Agreement

For immediate release
28 September 2017

Washington, DC — Today, CIEL, AIPP, CARE, ITUC, IWGIA, RFN, and WEDO released Delivering on the Paris Promises: Combating Climate Change While Protecting Rights, a new report that provides a road map for how to combat climate change under the Paris Agreement in a way that integrates fundamental human rights and the social and environmental principles enshrined in the treaty.

The Paris Agreement’s rapid entry into force in November 2016 marked an important step toward addressing the climate crisis. However, the rules for how to turn the Paris Agreement into action (known as the Paris Rule Book, which will be adopted in 2018) will define how governments implement their obligations to the Paris Agreement in practice. Delivering on the Paris Promises explains the key rights that are included in the preamble of the Paris Agreement and shares specific recommendations on how to adequately incorporate these rights into the Paris Rule Book.

On November 6th, Parties reconvene at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, to continue discussing the Paris Rule Book. Delivering on the Paris Promises argues that when they do, they must incorporate the fundamental rights and principles that governments reiterated in the first lines of the Paris Agreement. These rights and principles are rooted in other international agreements and obligations to which governments are already bound. Making them consistent and integrated in the Paris Rule Book strengthens climate action globally.

Erika Lennon, Senior Attorney at CIEL, said:

“Climate change and its impacts do not just exist as a far-off theory in the halls of the UNFCCC. From fires in the Western US and Canada, floods in Southeast Asia, and hurricanes in the Caribbean, climate change impacts lives every day. Countries must not only act urgently to keep temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, but also to do so in a way that respects, protects, and promotes human rights as directed in the opening sentences of the Agreement.”

Tonya Rawe, Global Policy Lead for Food and Nutrition Security at CARE, said:

“Climate change-related impacts like droughts, flooding, and land degradation pose an extremely severe threat to the realization of the right to food. It is time to take urgent climate action to help advance, not undermine, the goal of ending hunger and malnutrition. In implementing the Paris Agreement, small-scale food producers, particularly women, must have a seat at the table, and food security must be part of the conversation.”

Sharon Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, said:

“The commitment to secure a Just Transition for workers and communities whose jobs and livelihoods depend today on the fossil economy is a critical part of the rights-based approach used in the Paris Agreement. Governments must put in place the mechanisms to start planning this social transformation, and for the UNFCCC to give prominence to the initiatives that are showing it is possible for our society to transition fairly to a prosperous, climate-sound future.”

Kathrin Wessendorf, Senior Advisor on Climate and Environment at IWGIA, said:

“Indigenous peoples can contribute to climate solutions if their rights are respected, promoted, and protected and their voices heard. Therefore, the implementation of the preamble of the Paris Agreement is key to ensure true joint efforts and global solutions to climate change.”

Monica Camacho, Policy Advisor at Rainforest Foundation Norway, said:

“Maintaining and enhancing the integrity of ecosystems is important for the long-term effectiveness of climate mitigation and adaptation. Healthy ecosystems sequester and store carbon, while providing a natural defense against climatic hazards such as floods, sea-level rise and drought, and supporting the livelihoods of billions of people. When they are destroyed or degraded, ecosystems become a source of emissions, and their ability to enable people and other species to adapt is compromised. Therefore, the Rule Book of the Paris Agreement must be proactive and prevent such challenges from occurring by including overarching provisions on the protection on human rights and the integrity and resilience of natural ecosystems when undertaking climate mitigation and adaptation actions.”

Bridget Burns, Co-Director of WEDO, said:

“From climate change impacts to actions, ensuring gender equality and the full and effective participation of women in decision-making is key to tackling this challenge. The Paris Agreement makes this recognition and the Rule Book must enable a global climate regime centered on rights in order to create the socially just and sustainable planet to which we aspire.”

The report is currently available in English and Spanish, with a French translation forthcoming.

Contact: Erika Lennon, Senior Attorney:, 202.742.5856

Notes to editors:

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) is a regional organization founded in 1988 by indigenous peoples’ movements. AIPP strengthens the solidarity, cooperation, and capacities of indigenous peoples in Asia to promote and protect their rights, cultures and identities, and their sustainable resource management systems for their development and self-determination.

CARE International is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty and delivering lifesaving assistance in emergencies. In more than 90 countries around the world, CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women to equip them with the proper resources to lift their families and communities out of poverty.

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) uses the power of the law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society. CIEL is a non-profit organization dedicated to advocacy in the global public interest, including through legal counsel, policy research, analysis, education, training, and capacity building.

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is the global voice of the world’s working people. The ITUC’s primary mission is the promotion and defence of workers’ rights and interests, through international cooperation between trade unions, global campaigning, and advocacy within the major global institutions.

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Since 1968, IWGIA has worked in partnership with indigenous peoples and organisations to advocate for their rights, including through documentation, capacity development, and advocacy at local, regional, and international levels.

Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) is one of the world’s leading organizations in the field of rights-based rainforest protection. We are working for a world where the environment is protected and human rights are fulfilled. Our specific focus is the intersection – in the rainforest – of these two worldwide struggles. Our mission is to support indigenous peoples and traditional populations of the world’s rainforests in their efforts to protect their environment and fulfill their rights.

Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) is a global women’s advocacy organization working to ensure that women are empowered to claim their rights as decision-makers, advocates and leaders, especially on issues related to environment and sustainable development, and that sustainable development policies, plans, and practices are gender responsive, environmentally and socially just, and effectively implemented.