GANHRI urges action by States to address human rights impacts of climate change

GANHRI has called on State Parties attending COP26 to raise emission reduction targets and bolster adaptation efforts to address the escalating human rights impacts of climate change.

The open letter, prepared at the conclusion of an NHRI symposium co-hosted by GANHRI during COP26, also made recommendations in relation emissions trading programmes and enhancing international cooperation to support climate change responses by developing countries.

Ultimately, State Parties to the UNFCCC must “respect, protect and fulfil human rights in any actions they take to address climate change”, GANHRI said in the open letter. “We stand ready to work with State Parties to support the implementation of these critical commitments.”

Open Letter


The NHRI COP26 Symposium, held from 3-5 November 2021, examined the role of national human rights institutions in bridging the accountability gap in the climate emergency.

The virtual event brought together climate experts, UN partners and NHRIs from all regions to share knowledge and good practices in responding to the human rights impacts of climate change and contributing to national policy responses.

Expert speakers highlighted the tremendous value that NHRIs can contribute by:

  • Developing relationships with climate change experts and organisations
  • Establishing robust monitoring and reporting mechanisms to develop a strong knowledge base
  • Engaging with policy makers to influence decisions that address the human rights impacts of climate change
  • Representing communities who face the greatest risks from climate change.

The interactive sessions and small group discussions also allowed NHRIs to share strategies for future collaboration, including establishing inter-NHRI inquiry panels for transboundary and extraterritorial human rights issues

NHRIs also discussed opportunities to engage with international mechanisms and climate negotiations, including COP, to ensure that human rights are considered and addressed in the discussions.

GANHRI and member NHRIs have pledged to promote human rights-based climate action  through their monitoring, reporting, advisory and awareness-raising functions, both domestically and internationally.

The NHRI COP26 Symposium was co-hosted with the University of Sterling, the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions. GANHRI is grateful for the support of the symposium’s co-sponsors OHCHR, UNEP and UNDP and of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.


Recording of the event  Day 1   Day 2  Day 3