Over the past several years, the human rights implications of climate change have become more evident. While extreme weather events and slow onset changes caused by climate change affect the exercise of human rights, the implementation of climate change policies – in relation to both mitigation and adaptation – may also lead to the infringement of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. Despite this recognition by the UN Human Rights Council and other bodies, the international climate change regime has failed to address these implications, recognizing only in 2010 the importance for parties to respect human rights in the implementation of the Framework Convention.
The adoption of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), together with the reform of existing mechanisms and the operationalization of new institutions, offers several opportunities to ensure the adequate fulfillment of human rights obligations under the Convention. In this commentary, we highlight four concrete options available to the parties in the upcoming negotiations to guarantee the respect of substantial and procedural rights of all the stakeholders and to offer a redress mechanism in the case of loss and damages caused by climate change.