The Global Stocktake (GST) is the process, repeated every five years, for taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement with the aim to assess the world’s collective progress towards combating global climate change and addressing its impacts on people and the ecosystem. The first GST is under way until the end of 2023. It assesses global collective progress on the three core thematic areas of mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation (which includes finance, technology transfer, and capacity building). The GST is supposed to consider the social and economic consequences of efforts, such as those to address loss and damage, by taking into account equity and making use of the best available science in a cross-cutting manner.
Currently, the human rights dimensions of climate change are not a strong focus of the ongoing technical review process, despite the fact that more than half of the world’s population lives in regions of the world that are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. The changing climate is already leading to substantial damages and irreversible losses, including adversely affecting the health of people worldwide, causing displacement, undermining food security and affecting livelihoods and costing lives. Climate change is also a threat to democracy by increasing the risk of violence, including violence against women. If urgent action is not taken such impacts will only grow.
The GST should effectively cut across the interlinked areas of climate change and human rights to be able to better inform the change that is needed towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. By delaying climate action and failing to increase ambition, parties to the Paris Agreement are fueling a human rights crisis and are violating their existing human rights obligations; especially because implementing human rights-based climate action is one of the most effective way to ensure climate ambition. Therefore, the GST must assess the comprehensive implementation of the Paris Agreement including, as is stated in its preamble, whether activities implemented by parties respect, promote, and consider human rights, including “the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and peoples in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity”. Equally important is consideration of access to information and public participation, poverty eradication, the right to food, ecosystem integrity, the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and a just transition for workers.
This submission is meant to help shape and inform the ongoing GST process towards more human rights compatibility. It was jointly coordinated by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), EarthRights International, FIAN International, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington DC, IBON International, Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), which are all member organizations of the Human Rights and Climate Change Working Group.