Climate change and human rights: the role of National Human Rights Institutions

Tuesday 5th December, 09:00-17:00 GST  – In Dubai and Online on Zoom

Event for NHRIs and invited partners only

Register here

Arabic, French and Spanish interpretation will be provided


Climate change is an important and growing area of the work of the NHRIs. At the 2020 GANHRI Annual Conference, NHRIs from all regions pledged to work individually and collectively to promote human rights-based climate action, while the GANHRI strategic plan 2020-2022 identified climate change and human rights as a priority topic. The UN Human Rights Council has also recognised the importance of the role of the NHRIs in this area through resolution 51/31 at its 51st session in October 2022. The UN Third Committee recently adopted by consensus the draft NHRI resolution focusing on NHRIs’ contributions to promoting human rights-based climate action. The final adoption of the resolution will take place at the UN General Assembly in the upcoming weeks.

GANHRI is committed to supporting NHRI work on climate change and has recently gained observer status at the international climate negotiations. As a result, it will be attending the 28th Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Climate Change (COP28), while also coordinating active participation of member NHRIs at COP28. In the course of COP28, GANHRI will host a hybrid in person-online symposium of NHRIs on 5 December, on the topic of human rights and climate change.


The overall objective of the Symposium is to showcase and collectively discuss key aspects of the work of NHRIs on climate change, as well as identify ways of supporting ongoing and future work in this area.  

Specifically, the Symposium aims to:

  • Facilitate the exchange of knowledge, awareness and good practices relating to the work being done by NHRIs in the area of climate change and human rights.
  • Consider ways in which NHRIs not yet undertaking such work might be supported to do so. 
  • Introduce particular aspects of the negotiations taking place at COP 28 and support NHRIs to consider the relevance of these discussions to their work. 
  • Consider some of the challenges faced by NHRIs when working on climate change and how these might be addressed. 
  • Reflect on ways of developing and collaborating on work in this area, in the context of multiple demands and pressures on limited resources. 

Among other items the symposium will discuss climate change, business and human rights, protection of environmental human rights defenders, climate litigation and national inquiries and communities in vulnerable situations.

The symposium will take the form of a number of panels, featuring both NHRI and external speakers, in order to introduce particular topics. This will be followed by ample time for further discussion among participants. The meeting format will be participatory and inclusive. 

The event is co-funded by the EU with the support of UNEP and NHRI of United Arab Emirates.