Environment @
43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council

43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council

The 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC43), took place in Geneva from 24 February to 13 March 2020 (suspending earlier due to the Covid-19). Per the advice of the UN Secretary-General and UNOG Director-General, guided by the Swiss authorities, all Council-related side events have been cancelled as of 3 March to 20 March 2020. #HRC43

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, launched the Human Rights Call to Action at HRC43, including the action point to promote the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment for all.

The report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Right on Realizing the rights of the child through a healthy environment, presented at this session, looks at effects of environmental degradation on children, including climate change, toxics pesticides, EDCs, plastic, mercury, ewaste, toxic metals: 85 million children engaged in hazardous labour are exposed to toxic substances; 25% of infant deaths are from preventable, environmental hazards, said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights when presenting the report.

The environmental-related topics on the agenda include the protection of environmental human rights defenders, climate and the latest reports of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment. Check the list below for the events at HRC43 discussing environmental-related issues.

You can follow the Human Right Plenary session on UN TV.

 

Environmental Human Rights Defenders

The Council will consider a resolution, presented by Norway, to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. In 2019, the Council recognized the critical role of environmental human rights defenders in protecting vital ecosystems, addressing climate change, attaining the sustainable development goals (SDGs). As a follow-up to the HRC Resolution 40/11,a Geneva Road Map - seeking to ensure the effective implementation of the right to act for the protection of the environment and to promote free and safe spaces for information and discussion on environmental matters - was proposed by the University of Geneva and partners during the first week of the council. It was developped during a 2-day technical workshop, and presented at a public dialogue (26 February), and a side event at the Human Rights Council (27 February).

Read the blog "The Environmental Defenders Crisis : Towards a Geneva Road Map".

 

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the environment

At this session, the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David Boyd, presented his annual report, his country visits to Fiji and Norway, and the good practices reports, on 2 March.

The Civil Society Organizations meeting with Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment and the side event on the Special Rapporteur report on the Good practices on the Right to a Healthy Environment & the next steps took both place the first week of the Council.

A consultation on the upcoming report on biodiversity of the special rapporteur will take place on Tuesday 3 March.

18th International Film Festival and forum on human rights

The International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), the leading international event dedicated to film and human rights, was suppose to take place in Geneva from 6-15 March, in parallel to the annual main session of the UN Human Rights Council in March. The 2020 FIFDH was planning to bring together the protagonists of the civil society mobilizations for climate that took place around the world. The event has been cancelled due to Coronavirus Concerns but an updated programme has been put forward. 27 debates and interviews will be transmitted live on the internet.

On 10 March, the second edition of the Impact Day was expecting more than 100 participants confirmed. The Impact Day aims to strengthen the potential of cinematic storytelling as a tool for social and cultural change. Filmmakers, producers, NGOs and foundations were invited to participate in this event where the goal is to find potential alliances and strategies that will increase the quality and results of films' impact campaigns. If you work for an organization related to environmental issues and you want to get involved with the Impact Day, please write an email to impactday@fifdh.org with your name, the name of your organization and your role on it. 

 

Who to follow on Twitter

@SREnvironment Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
@SRtoxics Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes
@ForstMichel Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
@YvesLador Special Representative of Earthjustice in Geneva
@duycks Senior Attorney - Climate and Energy Programme at the Center for International Environmental Law
@giuliacrln Staff Attorney - Chemicals at the Center for International Environmental Law
@URGthinktank Universal Rights Group (URG)
@Geneva_Academy Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
@NorwayInGeneva Permanent Mission of the Republic of Norway
@FijiGeneva
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Fiji
@nazhatskhan Fiji's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva
@SLOtoUNGeneva Permanent Mission of the Republic of Slovenia


Public event - Supporting environmental defenders: mobilizing the international community in Geneva

26 February
17:30-19:00

As a global hub of international diplomacy, how can the international community in Geneva be mobilized to help protect environmental defenders and civic spaces?

Palais Eynard
 

HRC43 Side Event - The Environmental Human Rights Defenders Crisis: Towards a Geneva Road Map

27 February
10:00-11:30

The Human Rights Council holds three regular sessions a year, for a total of at least ten weeks. They take place in March (four weeks), June (three weeks) and September (three weeks).

Palais des Nations
Room XXII

HRC43 Side Event -
Climate change
and Human Rights

 
 

27 February
12:00-13:00

Side event organized by International-Lawyers.Org.
 
 
 
 

Palais des Nations
Room XXV

HRC43 Side Event -
Protection de l’environnement

 
 

27 February
16:30-13:00

Side event organized by Guinée Humanitaire.
 
 
 
 

Palais des Nations
Room XXIII

Civil Society Organizations meeting with Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment

28 February
10:30-11:30

Discussing SR Council report, upcoming plans (including next report to the UN General Assembly on biodiversity) and any other issues.
 

Palais Motta
Room RI-14

HRC43 Side Event - Good practices on the Right to a Healthy Environment & next steps
 

28 February
14:00-15:30

Discussing good practices of States in recognizing and implementing the right to live in a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
 
 

Palais des Nations
Room XXV

HRC43 Interactive Dialogue at the Council (presentation of SR Environment reports)
 

2 March
10:00-13:00

The Human Rights Council holds three regular sessions a year, for a total of at least ten weeks. They take place in March (four weeks), June (three weeks) and September (three weeks).

Palais des Nations
Room XX

Special Rapporteur on human rights & the environment Consultation on report to UNGA on biodiversity

3 March
16:00-17:30

Consultation in preparation of the report on biodiversity of the Special Rapporteur to be submitted to UN General Assembly.
 
 

Motta building
Room RI-14

HRC43 Side Event - Indigenous Knowledge as an Environmental HumAn Right
 

5 March
12:00-13:00

Side event organized by the Sikh Human Rights Group.
 
 
 
 

Palais des Nations
Room XXV

HRC43 Side Event - Pollutions and Humn Rights in Switzerland
 
 

5 March
14:00-15:00

Side event organized by Planeatry Association for Clean Energy.
 
 
 
 

Palais des Nations
Room VII

HRC43 Side Event -
Women’s Rights
and SDGs

 
 

5 March
16:00-17:00

Side event organized by Fundación Vida - Grupo Ecológico Verde.
 
 
 
 

Palais des Nations
Room VII

Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights 2.0
(FIFDH 2020 2.0)

 
 

6 March - 15 March
 

Presenting an updated program of 27 debates and interviews with prominent speakers, transmitted live on the internet.
Climate high on agenda.
 

Live
 

Sixty-sixth Compliance Committee to the Aahrus Convention
 
 

6 March - 13 March
 

UNECE Aarhus Convention and its Protocol on PRTRs empower people with the rights to access information, participate in decision-making in environmental matters and to seek justice.

Palais des Nations
Room XXIV

HRC43 Side Event - Local Struggles for Housing Rights / environmental degradation, urban. & climate change

6 March
10:30-11:30

Side event organized by Global Initiative for Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, sponsored by GeCCo.
 
 

Palais des Nations
Room XXI

HRC43 Side Event -
Land Grabbing

 
 
 

6 March
14:30-15:30

Side event organized by Intl Action for Peace & Sustainable Development.
 
 
 

Palais des Nations
Room XXII

HRC43 Side Event -
Equal Rights against Pesticides

 
 

6 March
16:30-17:30

Side event organized by Earthjustice, Public Eye, FIAN International.
 
 
 
 

Palais des Nations
Room VII

FIFDH 2020 - Climate emergency, citizen's emergency: the possibility of a new world?
 

6 March
20:30

The climate emergency threatens the collapse of the world as we know it. In the face of this threat, is it possible to build a new form of society based on mutual aid, social justice and equality?

Live
 

FIFDH 2020 - We Are Watching by Dan Acher : The Eyes of the world on climate action
 

7 March
11:00

We Are Watching is a flag the size of a 10-storey building. This participative installation features a monumental eye, made up of thousands of portraits & messages contributed from 190 countries.

Plaine de Plainpalais
 

FIFDH 2020 - What Protection for Women Climate Activists ?
 
 

8 March
15:00

Two episodes of the series Aruanas screened: investigation by four women working for Aruanas, an environmental NGO, into crimes linking a powerful mining company to illegal miners in the Amazon.

Espace Pitoëff
Grande salle

FIFDH 2020 - End of the world: shelter for the Swiss?
 
 

9 March
20:30

Switzerland was ready for a nuclear war, which did not come. The climate threat however is very real. And this time, the army and activists are uniting to fight it.
 

Live
 

Hackathon for Human Rights Responding to the climate emergency
 
 

10 March - 11 March
 

The FIFDH, Open Geneva, Climathon and Le Temps invite you for an evening and a day to reflect together on the formulation of innovative proposals to combat the dramatic effects of climate change.

Espace Pitoëf
 

FIFDH 2020 -
Impatc Day

 
 
 

10 March
 

Filmmakers, producers, NGOs and foundations are invited to participate with the goal to find potential alliances and strategies that will increase the quality and results of films' impact campaigns.

Espace Pitoëff
Théâtre

HRC43 Side Event - Legal developments in Human Rights & Climate Change: States obligations to protect rigths

10 March
12:30-14:00

Side event organized by Global Initiative for Economic, Social & Cultural Rights.
 
 
 

Palais des Nations
Room XXII

HRC43 Side Event - Water, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
 

10 March
14:30-16:00

Side event organized by Geneva University-Water Hub,Togo, Burkina Faso, OIF, to highlight the importance of respecting the rights to water and sanitation during armed conflicts.

Palais des Nations
Room VII

HRC43 Side Event - Upholding Human Rights in Climate Action
 
 

10 March
15:00-16:00

Side event organized by Center for International Environmental Law-CIEL.
 
 
 

Palais des Nations
Room IV

HRC43 Side Event - Protecting Human Rights Defenders
 
 

12 March
11:30-12:30

Side event organized by Global Institute for Water, Environment & Health.
 
 
 

Palais des Nations
Room IV

FIFDH 2020 - Youth for climate change : a generation standing alone on the front line?
 

12 March
19:30

Young people have been taking to the streets for the past 2 years, exposing political inaction towards the climate emergency. Has this revolt succeeded in influencing the global political agenda?

Live
 

FIFDH 2020 - Geopolitics of the environment: a conversation with François Gemenne
 

13 March
19:00

We are facing a multifaceted disaster: ecological, political, social and economic. Humans have had such an impact on the Earth's ecosystem that we talk about a new geological era: the Anthropocene.

Live
 

FIFDH 2020 - In Palestine, injustice is also environmental
 
 

14 March
14:30

Screening of GAZA, sheding light on the lives of Palestinians in a besieged Gaza Strip who, despite a pervasive lack of natural resources and hope, find ways to open up living spaces.

Live
 

FIFDH 2020 - Economy and climate: two irreconcilable realities?
 
 

14 March
18:30

The main indicator of economic policy for decades, GDP growth is now a much-decried concept. How can economic development be made compatible with respect for the environment?

Live