GANHRI and UNEP collaboration

The impact of climate change is an evident threat to human rights, a topic discussed during GANHRI’s 2020 Annual Conference which addressed the pressing issue. As a result, NHRIs from all regions pledged to promote human rights-based climate action both individually and collectively. Since the consensus, GANHRI has taken major initiative in furthering its efforts to support NHRIs in their fight against the climate crisis.   

The need for collaboration and unity is more important than ever to undertake this global issue. While the State does act as the primary bearer in taking action to counteract climate change, NHRIs are vital in working with governments and organizations to prevent human rights violations while promoting rights-based environmental action.  

National human rights institutions can assist extensively by applying their unique mandates in line with UN Paris Principles and international human rights norms and standards.  

Their capabilities include monitoring and reporting, providing technical support, engaging and providing relevant information, supporting processes to hold governments accountable for actions or inactions, ensuring mechanisms to protect rights holder, reporting to and advising government and parliament, and providing a platform for dialogue between state and non-state actors on domestic levels. All these functions are necessary and useful to combat climate degradation.  

Expanding on NHRI’s abilities, GANHRI adopted an Outcome Statement on Climate Change and National Human Rights Institutions, which calls on UNEP to support NHRIs and GANHRI in instituting the statement and emphasize capacity building of NHRIs on environmental and climate issues.   

The objective of the collaboration between GANHRI and UNEP will specifically ensure that civil society organizations, private sector institutions, media, and the general public have enhanced access to information on legal frameworks, particularly rights and obligations, pertinent to environmental protection, and have taken measures to strengthen legal frameworks and/or their implementation  

The project will be implemented through a partnership with UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, OHCHR, and UNDP and consists of three main activities for execution.  

The first is to develop a global tool for NHRIs to assist monitoring and reporting on human rights implications of climate change and other environmental issues. 

The second is to organize a webinar series on the dissemination of the global tool to strengthen the monitoring and reporting capacity of NHRIs, which will be followed-up by a report.  

The third will comprise the development of a community of practice and knowledge sharing multimedia platform on the environment as part of the GANHRI’s knowledge management platform, FUSE.   

Finally, the fourth activity will include the organization of activities for COP26 and the launch of the toolkit. 

Activities are expected to initiate by 30 September 2021. 

This project is a landmark for both GANHRI and NHRIs in affirming the vitality of human rights work and how crucial their efforts are in contributing to the prevalent issues of the world.