GANHRI HRC51 side event gathered NHRIs, CSOs and Permanent Missions to discuss key role of NHRIs in addressing climate change 


On 16th September 2022, GANHRI, with the support of the Permanent Mission of Australia, the Permanent Mission of Timor-Leste, UNEP, UNDP, and OHCHR, hosted a hybrid event on the sidelines of the 51st Human Rights Council on the work of National Human Rights Institutions in connection with climate change. 

The event moderated by H.E Ambassador Amanda Gorely of the Permanent Mission of Australia saw the participation of more than 80 participants including NHRIs from around the globe, CSOs and Permanent Missions.

In her opening remarks, Maryam Abdullah Al Attiyah, GANHRI Chairperson, highlighted that “a human rights-based approach will lead to more sustainable and effective climate action and climate policies”. She further brought attention to already existing GANHRI members’ initiatives in support of the cause, such as adopting an outcome statement during 2020 Annual Conference on Human Rights and Climate Change, developing a Practical Guidance for NHRIs on UN climate engagement and NHRIs acting as essential  actors  in addressing climate  change  in  their regular  work. 

Ambassador Gorely further introduced Charles L. Dean who shared the Samoan NHRI experience with human rights and climate change work through monitoring and reporting, advising, advocating and capacity building with a focus on rights of vulnerable groups especially children, women and persons with disabilities. 

Rosalinda Morales Garza from the Mexican NHRI, highlighted how the commission strengthened the economical-social cultural and environmental rights program to contribute to climate mitigation and promotion of all rights related to climate change, under the premises of the Escazú Agreement, the first environmental treaty of Latin America and the Caribbean, entered into force on April 2021. 

In her presentation, Marion Mutugi from the Kenyan NHRI, talked about the intersection between climate change, cultural rights and security and how the involvement of the NHRI aided the community to collect from the government considerable funds as reparations for historical injustices and discriminations, as well as reclaim community titles over the land. 

As a final intervention, Michaela Ujhazyova of the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights and Co-convener of the GANHRI NHRI Caucus on Human Rights and Climate Change gave an in-depth summary of the goals and activities which were adopted in the very recent Action Plan 2022 – 2023 of the Caucus, which brings together 33 NHRIs from all regions committed to working together on human rights and climate change. 

The main objectives include building professional capacities in mainstreaming HRBA in Climate Governance, building networks and strengthening expertise on climate litigation within NHRIs and supporting them with their advocacy work, as well as enhancing NHRI global relevance

Ms.Ujhazyova highlighted the pertinence of the ongoing registration of GANHRI as an observer at UNFCCC, which would allow for NHRI participation in the following COP events.  

In conclusion, Ms.Ujhazyova advertised the upcoming GANHRI high-level event ahead of the COP27 which will cover various aspects such as monitoring, climate litigation and engagement in global fora.