Delivering on Paris: Combating climate change while protecting rights

by Steffen Dehn

The IFSA delegation attended a side event that specifically dealt with the issue how climate change can be tackled while ensuring the rights of the people with an emphasis on indigenous people.

Although the rights of indigenous people are not mentioned in the articles of the Paris Agreement, the preamble sets the overall stage of how they should be considered in every step that is taken in the context of the Paris Agreement. The speakers pointed out the importance of making countries understand how they can commit themselves to climate action that are in line with human rights.

All panelist underlined that while human rights are recognized more and more in the context of climate action, it is important to push for more specific steps. Many policies and development project deal with or are implemented on the territory but the voice of indigenous people is not valued as much as it should be. The main problem seems to be that many measures that are proposed by the government are implemented without the consent of local communities. This undermines not only their rights but also limits the likeliness of their rights being heard and respected at an international level.

Annabella Rosemberg of International trade Union confederation argued that Bringing rights to the table is not a bargain but will increase parties ambition. Moreover, governments will have more supports on the ground when they are taking into account the legal rights of local communities.

The transition from the current economy to a green economy will not be easy and an effort should be made to include all people. The International trade Union confederation is trying to support workers and communities in their transition towards a green future by supporting the availability of jobs in the green sector so people are not between the chairs and forced to keep their environmental unfriendly job just to survive.

As mentioned, these rights did only make it to the preamble of the PA. Mrs. Rosemberg emphasized that it is therefore crucial to believe, that the preamble is not just a small part that can be neglected. She ended her speech by stressing that the times ahead will not be easy and closed with a strong statement on how important solidarity will be in this transition.

Erika Lennon from CIEL underscored the importance of Public participation. She said it’s not good enough to have participation in a way “oh we met up with but no all documents were available and we started an hour ahead” but highlighted how important Public ownership on climate action. As other speakers she urged all parties to operationalize the preamble and not just have it sitting there.

Further documents in regard to this topic can be accessed on the following website:



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