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United Nations Human Rights Council Second Resolution on Human Rights and Climate Change, 2009

Published March 25, 2009

The United Nations Human Rights Council Second Resolution 10/4 on Human Rights and Climate Change was adopted on March 25, 2009.


The Human Rights Council,

Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action,

Reaffirming the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the objectives and principles thereof, and welcoming the decisions of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007, and in particular the adoption of the Bali Action Plan,

Reaffirming also the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and recognizing that human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development and that the right to development must be fulfilled so as to meet equitably the development and environmental needs of present and future generations,

Reaffirming further that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and that they must be treated in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis,

Recalling its resolution 7/23 of 28 March 2008 on human rights and climate change,

Taking note of the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights (A/HRC/10/61),

Noting that climate change-related impacts have a range of implications, both direct and indirect, for the effective enjoyment of human rights including, inter alia, the right to life, the right to adequate food, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the right to adequate housing, the right to self-determination and human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and recalling that in no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence,

Recognizing that while these implications affect individuals and communities around the world, the effects of climate change will be felt most acutely by those segments of the population who are already in vulnerable situations owing to factors such as geography, poverty, gender, age, indigenous or minority status and disability,

Recognizing also that climate change is a global problem requiring a global solution, and that effective international cooperation to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in accordance with the provisions and principles of the Convention is important in order to support national efforts for the realization of human rights implicated by climate change-related impacts,

Affirming that human rights obligations and commitments have the potential to inform and strengthen international and national policy-making in the area of climate change, promoting policy coherence, legitimacy and sustainable outcomes,

1. Decides to hold a panel discussion on the relationship between climate change and human rights at its eleventh session in order to contribute to the realization of the goals set out in the Bali Action Plan and to invite all relevant stakeholders to participate therein;

2. Requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a summary of the panel discussion and decides to make the summary available to the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for its consideration;

3. Welcomes the decision of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living to prepare and present a thematic report on the potential impact of climate change on the right to adequate housing, and encourages other relevant special procedure mandate-holders to give consideration to the issue of climate change within their respective mandates;

4. Welcomes the steps by the Office of the High Commissioner and the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to facilitate exchange of information in the area of human rights and climate change;

5. Encourages the Office of the High Commissioner to participate at a senior level, during the High-level Meeting on Climate Change, to be held ahead of the general debate of the General Assembly at its sixty-fourth session, and at the fifteenth session and Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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