The role of human rights in climate change adaptation: evidence from civil society in Cambodia and Kenya

The role of human rights in climate change adaptation: evidence from civil society in Cambodia and Kenya

Inconsistent climate change policies increase the vulnerability of marginalised populations and lead to resource conflicts. A human rights-based approach can help protect the adaptive capacities of climate vulnerable populations.

Climate change raises critical issues about the linkages between human rights and the environment. With intensified natural hazards and increasingly uncertain weather conditions, more effort will be needed to safeguard the rights of vulnerable populations to be protected from hazards and to retain their capabilities to undertake their own adaptation strategies.

In order to assess how HRBA is applied to climate change it is essential to look at four specific human rights principles:

  • meaningful participation and opportunity
  • transparency
  • accountability of duty bearers
  • non-discrimination

This policy brief draws on examples from Kenya and Cambodia to illustrate the opportunities and obstacles for putting HRBA into practice.

Recommendations:

  • a human rights-based approach to climate change can be used to clarify who is responsible for climate change adaptation and what their duties are
  • governments have a responsibility to protect individuals from climate change, but often lack capacity to do so. There is a need to help govern- ments shoulder these difficult tasks, but also to ensure that they fulfill their duty
  • civil society should hold governments and donors to account to ensure that climate policies are actually implemented. Human rights can provide a mandate and a platform for this
  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.