The 2010 UN climate conference in Cancún emphasized that ‘Parties should, in all climate change related actions, fully respect human rights’. However, so far there is no further guidance. This article in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs discusses the relevant legal human rights norms and two case studies from the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The first case (Bajo Aguán, Honduras) shows that the current absence of any international safeguards can lead to registration of highly problematic projects. The second case (Olkaria, Kenya) suggests that safeguards, introduced here as a side effect of World Bank involvement, can have a positive impact, but that it is necessary to have them based on human rights. It therefore seems recommendable that the UN climate regime develop mandatory human rights safeguards. In addition or alternatively, individual buyer countries or groups of countries, such as the European Union, could introduce their own additional requirements for CDM projects.
The article is available for free download for a limited time here.