Through this mandate, the United Nations system will be able to respond to the existential challenge of climate change in a comprehensive and systematic manner as well as deepen understanding of the intrinsic connections between human rights, a healthy environment and climate change.
“The World Council of Churches applauds the creation of the mandate of a special rapporteur on human rights and climate change,” said Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, acting general secretary of the World Council of Churches.
“Across our fellowship, we increasingly hear and see how climate change is severely affecting people’s enjoyment of the basic human rights to food and water. Impoverished and vulnerable communities are bearing the brunt event though they contribute the least to the climate emergency. At this crucial moment demanding urgent and bold action, and when states are about to gather in Glasgow for critical climate talks, the HRC resolution 48/14 is a sign of hope,” Sauca said.
Since 2010, the WCC, together with other members of the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights, has been calling for the establishment of a special rapporteur addressing the impacts of climate change on human rights.
The WCC as part of Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change had co-issued a statement at HRC 48, reiterating its support for such a mandate to “identify the adverse impacts of climate change on peoples’ rights and dignity, consult affected communities, and contribute to strengthen an international ethical response to climate change in compliance with human rights.”
Moreover, “the time is now for the global recognition of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment,” the joint statement concluded.
HRC 48 also recognised for the first time that having a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right.