This paper provides an analysis of the references to human rights in the Cancun Agreements. This language is an important step towards establishing human rights protections in the international climate regime, and is largely the result of leadership from certain State Parties as well as sustained NGO pressure.
Considering that the rights language in earlier versions of the Long-term Cooperative Action negotiating text was under attack and had been removed in some instances, the Cancun LCA Outcome reflects significant progress in establishing rights protections. If implemented effectively, this language will guide the development of the processes and mechanisms mandated by the Cancun LCA Outcome (e.g., REDD safeguards, finance safeguards, response measures mechanism). In the lead-up to COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, these processes must consider how to include a rights-based approach to protect all peoples and communities, particularly those most vulnerable to climate change.