Friday, June 23, 2017

US Joins UN Resolution to Protect Human Rights from Climate Change

The US said climate change had “a range of implications for the effective enjoyment of human rights”, in a departure from recent diplomacy and Trump’s rhetoric.

Countries agreed that the human rights of children must be protected as they are particularly vulnerable to climate change (Picture Credit: UNICEF) Click to Enlarge.
The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution that calls for the protection of human rights from the impacts of climate change, with the support of the US.

Two weeks of discussions began with much uncertainty regarding the role that the US would play after the decision by the US president Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

After intensive but constructive negotiations over the wording, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Vietnam proposed a resolution for adoption by all members of the Council on Thursday.

Addressing the Council as governments were about to consider the adoption of the text, US representative Jason Mack cleared any doubts about the US position on this resolution.

“As we said previously on this topic, the effects of climate change have a range of implications for the effective enjoyment of human rights.  On this basis we join consensus,” said Mack.

The recognition by the US of the importance of continuing work on this issue contrasted with Trump’s speech three weeks ago, which framed the Paris Agreement as an injustice against the US economy.

The US has stood aside in recent international discussions of climate change.  Trump’s refusal to offer support to the Paris agreement lead to a split at the recent G7 summit in Italy.

However Mack did raise concerns about references to the Paris deal in the Council resolution.  In one of the few contentious parts of the negotiations, the US said the Human Rights Council should not interfere with the formal UN climate negotiations, a risk the US saw as encouraged in the eventual resolution.

Nor would the US brook any language that compelled countries to take steps inside the Paris accord or out.

“Any calls for climate action in this resolution can only affirm actions that countries choose to take,” said Mack.

On the other hand, German ambassador Antje Leendertse, speaking on behalf of the EU, stressed the importance of including considering human rights principles with​in the climate talks.​

Read more at US Joins UN Resolution to Protect Human Rights from Climate Change

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