Urgently Addressing Climate Change as a Human Rights Issue

An event offered by the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights (GIF) on the occasion of the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Concept Note

Urgently Addressing Climate Change as a Human Rights Issue – Small Island States, Indigenous Peoples, Youth and Faith Perspectives

Friday, 26 March 2021 | 10:00-11:30 AM Central European Time (CET)
Register here

Climate change is a human rights issue. It is one of the most urgent human rights issues of our time, directly as well as indirectly threatening the enjoyment and realisation of human rights of all. The small island and least developed countries are particularly vulnerable. The Indigenous Peoples, youth and people living in poverty are affected in unequal ways.

Though the most recent scientific data conclude that climate change is accelerating and demands an urgent and coordinated response, there is as yet no dedicated mechanism at the Human Rights Council (HRC) – the United Nations body responsible for  promoting  and  protecting  human rights – that tackles climate change in a holistic, systematic, and consistent manner. Moreover, there is a clear need to strengthen the connection between the HRC and the key international frameworks governing global climate change negotiations.

During the 46th session of the HRC, the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh delivered a statement, on behalf of 53 other states, calling for effective global climate actions in order to promote and protect the human rights of all and calling upon the Council to consider creating a new Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change. A similar call was also made by the Republic of the Marshall Islands on behalf of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) during the 44th Session of the HRC in 2020.

This event is organised in conjunction with the 46th Session of the HRC to bring together voices and visions from small island states, Indigenous Peoples, youth, and faith communities with a view to establishing the connections between climate change and human rights as well as sharing information about concrete proposals and initiatives for addressing the human rights impacts of climate change in this context.


  • Mr Didier Georges, Haiti, Permanent Mission of Haiti to the UN in Geneva
  • Mr Yves Lador, Switzerland, Earthjustice
  • Sis Jayanti Kirpalani, United Kingdom, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University
  • Ms Aldonna Purba, Lutheran World Federation Youth voice
  • Ms Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Chad, Coordinator of the Association of Peul Women and Autochthonous Peoples of Chad (tbc)
  • Rev James Bhagwan, Fiji, General Secretary, Pacific Conference of Churches (tbc)


  • Ms Alexandra M Goossens-Ishii, Soka Gakkai International & Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights (GIF)

The event will include an interactive discussion with the audience.



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