Last night around 10 o’clock, the long-awaited new text of the Paris Climate Agreement was released. Something that fell like a drop of cold water was the complete exclusion of the mention of human rights from the operative text of the draft agreement (Article 2). The mention of human rights was included in the Preamble, as were important elements of it, including the protection of indigenous peoples, gender equality, inter-generational equality, food security, ecosystem integrity and fair transition for workers.
The inclusion of these issues in the Preamble is important, but it is not sufficient. The preamble reflects the spirit of the States in signing the Agreement, however it is in Article 2 that their goal is described. Basically, when the agreement is implemented in the future, Article 2 will serve as the navigational chart. That is why it’s essential that the protection of human rights, gender equality, the protection of indigenous peoples, inter-generational equity, ecosystem integrity, food security and fair transition of the labor force is included in this section.
At this point in the negotiations, the Presidency of the COP plays a key role – it will facilitate the negotiations by taking into account the comments of Member Parties and, from there, propose a new text for the Agreement. Alongside fellow civil society organizations, we’re working hard here in Paris and talking to delegations from all the States to highlight the importance of human rights being comprehensively included in the agreement. Only through the inclusion of human rights can the Agreement effectively respond to reality and further prevent the serious impacts that climate change is having on the human rights of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Humanity has an historic responsibility to react to this urgent situation. Leaders at COP21 should respond with a strong, binding and ambitious agreement that consistently includes the protection of human rights in both the preamble and the operative text.
This statement above reflects the organizational point of view of the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense.
Víctor Quintanilla – firstname.lastname@example.org