Fostering human rights and business accountability in the context of climate change: Experiences of national human rights institutions

4 July 2024 | 17:00-18 :00 CET | Geneva, Palais des Nations, Room XXV

Event hosted by GANHRI on the margins of the 56th session of the Human Rights Council;
with the co-sponsorship of the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations, the United Nations Human Rights Office
and the Center for International and Environmental Law.


The side event will be an opportunity to showcase experiences of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) from different regions in addressing the human rights impact of climate change resulting from business activities, by applying their unique mandate and functions under the Paris Principles.

The event will be held in person. It is open to all interested participants, including NHRIs, NHRI regional networks, Permanent Missions in Geneva, GANHRI members, NGO representatives, business representatives and UN partners.


The panel discussion will include Elisa Morgera, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change, and representatives from the NHRIs of Kenya, Mongolia and Germany.

The discussion will be moderated by H.E. Ambassador Amanda Gorely, Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva.

Maryam Abdullah Al Attiyah, GANHRI Chairperson, will provide the opening remarks. Joie Chowdhury, Senior Attorney, Center for International Environmental Law, will close proceedings.


Climate change directly and indirectly impacts the enjoyment of all human rights. However, these impacts are disproportionately affecting persons, groups and peoples already in vulnerable situations, including children, indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities.

Much of the CO2 emissions causing climate change are a result of business-driven economic activity. However, business activities can contribute to innovation and solutions to prevent, mitigate and adapt to climate change and its adverse impacts on the planet and its people.

And the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) provide the authoritative global framework to prevent and address negative human rights impacts related to business, which include business-related human rights impacts from climate change.

With their broad and powerful mandates, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) are uniquely positioned to address these complex challenges. The UN General Assembly resolution of December 2023 underscores the vital role of NHRIs to collaborate with governments and other stakeholders to ensure full respect for human rights at the national level, including in the context of climate change.


This event will bring together NHRIs, UN experts, Member States, civil society human rights defenders and other partners to discuss how NHRIs, in line with the Paris Principles, are leveraging their unique mandates to promote and protect human rights in the complex and intersecting context of business, the environment and climate change.

Responsibility of business: Examine the intersections between climate change and business activities from a human rights perspective, highlighting the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights, as outlined in the UN Guiding Principles.

Role of NHRIs: Showcase, through practical examples, the role and experiences of NHRIs as key actors in engaging on the environmental and human rights issues linked to business-related activities.

Human rights defenders: Discuss the challenges and risks faced by NHRIs and human rights defenders when addressing these issues, and potential solutions.

Cooperation: Explore opportunities for further cooperation in this area between NHRIs and the UN, civil society, human rights defenders, businesses, and other relevant stakeholders.



Concept note