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Monday, November 26 • 3:00pm - 4:20pm
What human rights responsibilities apply to businesses with respect to climate change?

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Interpretation is provided into Spanish

Organized by OHCHR

Brief description of the session:
 This session will explore the responsibilities of businesses with respect to climate change, mitigation and adaptation. Businesses must be accountable for their climate impacts, participate responsibly in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts with full respect for human rights, and exercise human rights due diligence in the course of their activities. States must also ensure that their own business activities, including activities conducted in partnership with the private sector, contribute to mitigating climate change while respecting human rights, and ensuring effective remedies for climate and human rights harms. Businesses and governments should go beyond simply avoiding climate harms and actively work to promote development that benefits both people and planet.

Session objectives:
 Raise awareness of business responsibilities related to human rights and climate change.
 Identify good practices and concrete solutions to human rights challenges faced by businesses in the context of climate change.

Key discussion questions
 1. What is the responsibility of the private sector for climate change?
2. What does a rights-based approach to climate action look like for companies? What responsibilities does the private sector have to limit their carbon footprint (e.g. human right due diligence)?  
3. How can companies be held accountable for climate-related human rights harms?

Background to the discussion:
 Climate change is a key challenge facing the global community, and one that impacts, directly and indirectly, an array of internationally guaranteed human rights. Private actors, including businesses, contribute significantly to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, and thus contribute to the impacts of climate change on human rights. At the same time, international agreements, including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda for Financing for Development, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change recognize that private actors must play a significant role in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts and in ensuring development that is truly sustainable and in line with the vision elaborated in the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development.

Today, global attention is increasingly trained on the impact that businesses have on the enjoyment of human rights around the world, and businesses are increasingly aware of human rights as both a risk factor and as a moral and legal imperative. Despite strong understanding of the links between climate change and human rights, climate change and business, and business and human rights, there is a lack of action to ensure business accountability for climate change.

Moderator/ Introductory Remark...
avatar for Sandra Epal-Ratjen

Sandra Epal-Ratjen

International Advocacy Director and Deputy Executive Director, Franciscans International
Ms Sandra Epal-Ratjen is the International Advocacy Director and Deputy Executive Director of Franciscans International.She has extensive experience and expertise in international legal and advocacy processes, especially pertaining Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.Prior to her... Read More →


Nnimmo Bassey

Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation
Environmental justice and human rights advocate. Concerned about corporate and governance/justice issues in the extractives and food sectors.
avatar for Eugenio Roberto T. Cadiz

Eugenio Roberto T. Cadiz

Commissioner, Philippines Commission on Human Rights
Commissioner Eugenio Roberto T. Cadiz is the focal commissioner for Business and Human Rights; Environment; Suffrage and Civic Participation; International Humanitarian Law; Human Rights Defenders; Peace; and Sustainable Development Goals, at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of... Read More →
avatar for Surya Deva

Surya Deva

Vice-Chair, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
avatar for Eniko Horvath

Eniko Horvath

Senior Researcher, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
My work focuses on the links between climate actions and human rights (including strengthening renewable energy sector's respect for human rights) and efforts to strengthen business respect for human rights in Europe.
avatar for Lucielle Paru

Lucielle Paru

Executive Director, Papua Native Landowners Association Inc (PNLA)
I am an Activist from Papua New Guinea and for the past decade have raised issues, awareness and lobbied with the Government and Opposition of our Country PNG. At current the major issues I work on are: the Papuan People Want for Freedom from PNG, Papuan Land Grabbing issues and Environmental... Read More →
avatar for Guillermo Pickering

Guillermo Pickering

Chairman of the board, Aguas Andinas
Guillermo Pickering de la Fuente is a prominent Chilean lawyer who has held high positions in both the public and private sectors. He is currently President of Aguas Andinas, the most important water utility and sewage management company in Chile, and President of the Association... Read More →

Monday November 26, 2018 3:00pm - 4:20pm CET
Room XXI