November 12, Glasgow, UK — Governments should not miss their last chance to embed human rights in the outcome text of COP26, according to international charities. 

CARE, Climate Outreach, ActionAid and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) told negotiators they have a responsibility to make sure human rights are not diluted. 

Many areas of the negotiations have seen references to human rights either removed or watered down. Negotiators writing the Action on Climate Empowerment (ACE) work programme at COP26, for example, have deleted language referring to human rights-based approaches. 

“We’ve learned from nearly two decades of experience that rights to education, information and participation must be preserved to ensure all corners of society can be included in the climate response,” said Deepayan Basu Ray, Climate Engagement Initiative Lead at Climate Outreach. “Without this we cannot reach a 1.5 degree world.”

This is a problem across all areas of the negotiations. Experts on loss and damage, finance, adaptation, and Article 6 are deeply concerned about where the final text will land in terms of ensuring climate justice and human rights for those most impacted by climate change. 

Obed Koringo, Civil Society Coordinator from CARE International based in Kenya, said: “Throughout the negotiations there has been a push and pull between developed and developing countries that has been hard to witness, especially on the finance issue. 

“We have seen some wealthy countries say one thing for the cameras and act very differently behind the closed doors of the negotiation rooms. In my country, Kenya, more than two million people are facing starvation due to prolonged droughts exacerbated by climate change. For us to address the human rights violations and climate injustices that our communities continue to experience, this COP has to provide a clear roadmap on how to scale up adaptation finance and make it accessible to those who need it.”

Teresa Anderson, Climate Policy Coordinator, ActionAid International, said: “There were huge expectations going into COP26 that this would be the moment when the world finally says – we’re in this together. But the latest text shows that the wealthy countries most responsible for climate change are still hanging climate vulnerable nations out to dry.

“The next few hours are critical. Human rights are at stake. We need the response to match the scale and urgency of the crisis. We need transformative global solutions to limit warming at 1.5˚C and the support for the smallholder farmers, women and girls, and indigenous communities being hardest hit by a crisis they did the least to cause.”

Sébastien Duyck, Senior Attorney and Human Rights and Climate Campaign Manager at CIEL, said: “It is the responsibility of every individual Party involved in this process to ensure that the Paris Agreement is not weaponized by corporate actors placing profits over people.

“For it to succeed, Parties must ensure that all necessary safeguards, limits and procedures are in place in relation to decisions related to carbon trading under the Paris Agreement. Failing to do so would result in real world threats for local communities and indigenous peoples as we have seen in similar schemes. 

“While negotiators are in hot pursuit of a quick conclusion they are continuing to undermine their commitments to upholding human rights while opening a Pandora’s Box of false climate solutions that will only serve to blow a hole in ambition. Once governments strike a deal on this, there will be no do-overs. And negotiators must think carefully about what they are doing before it is too late. If they can’t get it right in Glasgow, they should pause negotiations rather than pass an irreversible threat for communities in the Global South and future generations.”

Press conference livestream: 

Latest draft text for the overarching decision and Article 6:, and CDM.

All speakers are available for interview. Please contact the relevant person below: 

Media contacts:

Climate Outreach: Sarah Horsley +44 7833 698 450

ActionAid: Jess Midwinter  +44 7858 436 362

CARE International: Juliet Perry +31 615 574 513

CIEL: Cate Bonacini +1 510 520 9109