GEM Initiative at Yale University
Governance, Environment,
and Markets Initiative

Economic Social and Cultural Rights and Climate Change

The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, Academics Stand against Poverty Network, and the Governance, Environment & Markets Initiative at Yale University have developed a new legal reference guide that examines the connections between climate change and human rights, with a particular focus on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
 
Given the serious human rights ramifications of climate change, States are obliged to take all appropriate means to avoid and mitigate climate change and its harmful consequences, as well as assist vulnerable communities in adapting to its consequences. States are also required to ensure that their responses to climate change are consistent with their human rights obligations under domestic and international law. This introductory legal reference guide seeks to provide policy-makers, advocates, and experts with basic knowledge of obligations and principles related to international economic, social, and cultural rights, along with concrete examples of their relevance to climate change-related policy-making. The guide thus aims to ensure that governments continue to meet their obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill economic, social, and cultural rights in the context of new challenges brought by climate change, as well as to highlight opportunities for policy-makers worldwide.
 
Part I of this manual provides a general introduction to human rights and the international climate change regime, including the relationship between climate change and human rights. Part II surveys basic concepts of international human rights law. Part III examines the ICESCR more specifically, including its structure, the nature of its obligations, means of implementation, and compliance mechanisms. Finally, Parts IV through X discuss specific rights enumerated in the ICESCR, including: the right to equality and non-discrimination; the rights to work and social security; the right to family life; the right to an adequate standard of living; the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the right to education; and the right to culture. These sections also provide case studies illustrating how climate policies are being implemented to concomitantly address climate change and enhance the realisation of human rights.
 
The legal reference guide was edited by Sébastien Jodoin and Katherine Lofts and includes a foreword by Thomas Pogge. The contributing authors include: Christiane Bossé, Christopher Campbell-Duruflé, Benoît Mayer, Karine Péloffy, Patrick Reynaud, and Sean Stephenson.
 
For more information regarding this publication, please contact: Ms. Katherine Lofts at klofts@cisdl.org.
 
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