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Monday, November 26 • 4:40pm - 6:00pm
How can climate actions respect rights & contribute to peacebuilding in the transition to a green economy?

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Interpretation is provided in English, French and Spanish

Organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

Brief description of the session:
Shifting to renewable energy is a fundamental part of the transition towards green economy. The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and the SDGs both underline the necessity of a transition toward a sustainable, zero-carbon future for all as a human rights imperative. If undertaken responsibly, this transition has the potential to contribute to peacebuilding and a rights-respecting energy system. However, if managed without human rights in mind, it carries risks harming lives and livelihoods, as well as causing financial and legal costs for companies and investors. In order for it to be successful this transition has to be a Just Transition, leaving no one behind and maximizing climate protection as well as minimizing the risks and hardships for workers and communities.
This session focuses on how companies can ensure their climate actions respect human rights and benefit from the transformative potential of the transition to a green economy. It will unpack the concept of a green economy, explore the concept of a just transition away from fossil fuels in a way that respects the rights of workers and communities, and address how we can support a model of renewable energy that contributes to peacebuilding, provides decent jobs throughout its supply chain, and respects the rights of indigenous communities.

Session Objectives:
  •  Provide participants with space to discuss what a green economy and a just transition entail in the context of companies’ responsibility to respect human rights
  • Share with participants ways in which rights-based climate action can be a positive force for peacebuilding
  • Explore factors that contribute to best practice examples of just transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy

Format of the session:
  • Recap of outcomes of previous session "What related human rights responsibilities apply to businesses with respect to climate change?" and introduction of session (15 mins)
  • World Café Round 1 (tables 1 and 2) in key question "cafes" (25 mins)
  • Rotation and World Café 2 Round 2 (tables 3 and 4) in key question "cafes" (25 mins)
  •  Report back from cafes to plenary (15 mins)

Key questions for discussions in World Cafes1 
World Cafe Table 1:
Guiding question: How can a rights-based approach to climate action contribute to peacebuilding?
Facilitator: Hannah Peters, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Resource person: Justine Taylor, Quaker United Nations Office
World Cafe Table 2:
Guiding question: What do we mean by a green economy? How does our current economic model contribute to climate change and how can we address this in a rights-based way?
Facilitator: Eniko Horvath, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
Resource Person: Elena Espinoza, Principles for Responsible Investment
World Cafe Table 3: 
Guiding question: What do we mean by a just transition to a low-carbon economy? How can a radical reduction of fossil fuels be managed in a just way?
 Facilitator: Nabylah Abo Dehman, Principles for Responsible Investment
 Resource Person: Philip Gass, International Institute for Sustainable Development
World Cafe Table 4:
Guiding question: How can renewable energy companies ensure their operations respect human rights? What role do investors and companies buying renewable energy have?
Facilitator: Isobel Edwards, Researcher
Resource Person: Melissa Ortiz Massó, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Bacground 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 implement proposed solutions to the challenges faced by the private sector in the context of climate change.


avatar for Nabylah Abo dehman

Nabylah Abo dehman

Manager, Social Issues, Principles for Responsible Investment
Catherine’s research intersects international commercial law and business human challenges, such transnational business activities, international corporate governance and the impact of new technologies. She currently researches the role of artificial intelligence in corporate governance... Read More →
avatar for Elena Espinoza

Elena Espinoza

Especialista Senior de Asuntos Sociales, Principios de Inversión Responsable (PRI)
Elena es la responsable de cuestiones sociales de los Principios de Inversión Responsable (PRI), donde supervisa el desarrollo y la aplicación de la estrategia de los PRI para apoyar a los inversores en la comprensión de las cuestiones sociales y su incorporación en la toma de... Read More →

Philip Gass

Senior Policy Analyst, IISD
Philip Gass is a Senior Policy Advisor, Energy and Lead, Indonesia with the Energy program, specializing in climate change and energy policy at the sub-national and national level in North America and Indonesia, and international developments within the UNFCCC process.His recent work... Read More →
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 Melissa Ortiz Massó

Melissa Ortiz Massó

Regional Researcher Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, Business & Human Rights Resource Center
Love to learn about other regions and how business & communities and human rights defenders are interacting.Will love to hear about the successful and positive experience.I work in a difficult but interesting area with a lot of improvement opportunities.
avatar for Justine Taylor

Justine Taylor

At this event I will be speaking about how a human rights approach to climate change can contribute to peacebuilding.

Monday November 26, 2018 4:40pm - 6:00pm CET
Room XXI