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A human rights-based approach to loss and damage under the climate change regime


Toussaint,  Patrick
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;


Martinez Blanco,  Adrian
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;

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Toussaint, P., Martinez Blanco, A. (2020): A human rights-based approach to loss and damage under the climate change regime. - Climate policy, 20, 6, 743-757.

Cite as: https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_4394900
Climate change has been labelled the human rights challenge of the twenty-first century. Loss and damage resulting from climate change, in particular, poses a severe threat to the human rights of affected communities. However, the international response to climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has thus far insufficiently taken human rights into account, contributing to policy outcomes inadequate to protecting communities affected by loss and damage. This article proposes the adoption of a human rights-based approach as a strategic tool for policymakers to strengthen the international response to loss and damage. The approach builds on the existing obligations of Parties under international and regional human rights treaties and provides a method for systematically integrating human rights that goes beyond mere mainstreaming of human rights. Specifically, the article identifies opportunities for anchoring such an approach under the Warsaw International Mechanism and key mechanisms for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Conversely, it considers the integration of loss and damage in the work of relevant human rights bodies, specifically the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.