Climate Justice

In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) convened in Brazil to address issues regarding the environment and development. However, the recommendations were not asserted in a way that clearly related these issues to human rights. Later that year, the University of Dayton hosted a conference on the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development issued at the conclusion of the Earth Summit in Brazil. The conference framed the issues of the environment and development as distinctly human rights issues, issues that went largely unsaid at UNCED.

In the decades since the UNCED conference, the human rights movement has focused more intentionally on the human rights impact of environmental degradation. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling for detailed analytical studies on the relationship between climate change and human rights. The grave threat of climate change has deepened these concerns. The 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cast these concerns in stark terms. Speaking at the University of Dayton the day after the publication of the IPCC report, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson stressed the importance of climate justice for the full realization of human rights. In 2015, the global community will adopt an agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions among other measures to reverse the effects of climate change.

The Human Rights Center, working closely with the Hanley Sustainability Institute at the University of Dayton, will actively engage the issue of climate change from a human rights perspective. More specifically, the center will seek to promote interfaith dialogue on the issue, and will monitor and evaluate the implementation of future agreements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from a human rights perspective.

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Human Rights Center

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300 College Park 
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2790