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Talanoa considers the potential of climate litigation to drive change


Representatives from four NHRIs will meet in Nadi, Fiji, this week to discuss practical strategies that respond to the challenges of climate change.

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Representatives from four national human rights institutions (NHRIs) will meet in Nadi, Fiji, this week to discuss practical strategies that respond to the challenges of climate change and give substance to the recently-adopted UN resolution on the right to a healthy environment.

NHRI representatives – from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa – will join with representatives from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, (PIFS), Pacific Community (SPC) and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) at the two-day talanoa, funded by the European Union (EU)

The potential of climate litigation to drive changes in law and policy will be one of the key areas of discussion, including the recent ground-breaking decision of the UN Human Rights Committee that found Australia’s failure to adequately protect indigenous Torres Islanders against climate change impacts, has violated their rights to enjoy their culture.

Globally, the cumulative number of climate change-related cases has more than doubled since 2015, bringing the total number to more than 2,000. Around a quarter of cases were filed between 2020 and 2022.

“While the success of these cases has been variable, each decision contributes to a growing body of jurisprudence that can address climate change issues and the impact on communities,” said Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF).

The European Union – as donor of this crucial initiative - reiterates its support to a strong and constructive partnership between the main actors involved in the promotion and protection of human rights and climate resilience, in a region that has been proving its commitment and leadership over these important topics, stated Francesco Ponzoni, Programme Manager at the European Union Delegation for the Pacific

The talanoa, to be held on 20-21 October 2022, will build on a previous dialogue involving Pacific NHRIs and regional bodies to discuss collaboration on human rights-based approaches that respond to environmental and climate change issues.

Discussions will be facilitated by Mr Romulo Nayacalevu, the APF’s Lead Engagement Facilitator for the Pacific, and include a session on Pacific Islands Forum support for an advisory opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice.

The APF will also announce small grants for two national activities developed by NHRIs that promote the right to a healthy environment.

Following completion of the national activity, NHRIs will share their analysis with the PIFS, SPC and SPREP in upcoming information exchanges to discuss measures that best respond to the issues identified.

The workshop is part of a multi-year project to promote engagement between NHRIs and regional inter-governmental mechanisms to address human rights issues in South-East Asia and the Pacific, funded by the European Union and coordinated by the APF.

For more information, please contact:
Huong Tran
Project Manager, APF
Email: huongtran@asiapacificforum.net

Download the media release here

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Funded by the European Union

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