This Study explores arguments about the impact of climate change on human rights, examining the international legal frameworks governing human rights and climate change and identifying the relevant synergies and tensions between them. It considers arguments about (i) the human rights impacts of climate change at a macro level and how these impacts are spread disparately across countries; (ii) how climate change impacts human rights enjoyment within states and the equity and discrimination dimensions of those disparate impacts; and (iii) the role of international legal frameworks and mechanisms, including human rights instruments, particularly in the context of supporting developing countries' adaptation efforts.
The Study surveys the interface of human rights and climate change from the perspective of public international law. It builds upon the work that has been carried out on this interface by reviewing the legal issues it raises and complementing existing analyses by providing a comprehensive legal overview of the area and a focus on obligations upon States and other actors connected with climate change. The objective has therefore been to contribute to the global debate on climate change and human rights by offering a review of the legal dimensions of this interface as well as a survey of the sources of public international law potentially relevant to climate change and human rights in order to facilitate an understanding of what is meant, in legal terms, by 'human rights impacts of climate change' and help identify ways in which international law can respond to this interaction. This is a complex and dynamically evolving legal and policy landscape and this study aims to capture its most salient features insofar as they appear at present.
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The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank
March 17, 2011
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