Climate change and human rights: youth-led initiative to request an International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion
Wednesday, 7 July 2021
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Virtual (NY Time)
The Permanent Mission of Belgium to the UN with UN-Youth Delegates (UNYD’s) from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland; UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY), YOUNGO & World’s Youth for Climate Justice (WYCJ)
The connection between the climate crisis (SDG 13) and human rights is clear. Climate impacts exacerbate pre-existing inequalities and human rights-related challenges such as poverty (SDG 1), well-being (SDG 3), wealth inequality (SDG 8/10) and gender equality (SDG 5), with in particular an acute impact on vulnerable groups. Climate mitigation and adaptation measures will have a major impact on, among others, the right to live, education and self-determination. As put by Achim Steiner, Executive Director UNDP, “(...) While the United Nations and national governments acknowledge that climate change and the responses to it can impact human rights, there is less agreement on the corresponding obligations of governments and private actors to address this problem.” As such, authoritative clarification of the impacts of climate change on the human rights framework, and the rights of future generations, is required. During this side-event, several European UN youth delegates and World’s Youth for Climate Justice (WYCJ) zoom in on the possibilities offered by international law to strengthen climate ambition, climate justice, and intergenerational equity. They present the initiative of WYCJ (originated in the Pacific Islands) to request legal advice from the International Court of Justice on the effects of climate change on the human rights obligations of States, and the integration of the concept of "Intergenerational justice". The role of youth leadership for climate justice, the WYCJ Initiative, and the importance of a rights-based approach in the fight for climate justice will be discussed with decision makers, youth activists, academia, and civil society representatives.