Climate Change, Environment, Economic & Social Rights

A fishing boat heads inland as a storm approaches off the coast of Koh Tao, Thailand, in 2016. (Photo by Todd Pitman / © OHCHR) 

Environmental degradation and climate change are increasingly impacting the lives of people for the worse, putting at risk their human rights.

These include the rights to life, water and sanitation, food, health, housing, self-determination, culture and development.

They are disproportionately borne by persons and communities already in disadvantageous situations owing to geography, poverty, gender, age, disability, cultural or ethnic background.

Through a broad range of activities, the Regional Office for South-East Asia, among others, actively advocates a human rights-based approach to guide State’s climate actions and policies including their nationally determined contributions (NDCs), assists human rights mechanisms to address climate change and environmental issues, advocates on behalf of environmental human rights defenders, ensuring the public participation and effective remedy to the environment-related policy and actions and aims at ensuring that climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts are adequate, sufficiently ambitious, non-discriminatory and otherwise compliant with human rights obligations.

The Office also works at highlighting the essential obligations and responsibilities of States and other duty-bearers (including businesses) and their implications for climate change-related agreements and at addressing human rights harms caused by environmental degradation, particularly to groups in vulnerable situations.

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