34th session of the Human Rights Council
Interactive Dialogue on Climate Change and the Rights of the Child
2 March 2017
Delivered by Matthew Reading-Smith

CIVICUS welcomes this opportunity to address the Vice President of the Council and the other distinguished panelists. We applaud the Council´s commitment to an integrated approach to the implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. These two frameworks beckon the highest degree of international cooperation and reveal common areas of social, economic and environmental interdependence.

One cannot be achieved without the other. They are symbiotic and should be delivered in tandem. Achieving them requires coordinated implementation across the wide range of interrelated thematic areas and coherent support spanning the entire UN system.

Examining their structure shows that they are built on common foundations. The World Resource Institute has found that of the 169 targets embedded in the sustainable development goals, 154 of them are reinforced by the nationally determined contributions under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Although these two frameworks share much in common, they are largely administered in isolation from one another. They involve different secretariats, engage separate communities and use different metrics to measure progress. Given the vast capital and capacity estimates for delivering both frameworks, implementation strategies should be designed with each other in mind.

The role of the Human Rights Council is critical in ensuring coherence and provides an opportunity to anchor these voluntary frameworks in international human rights norms. Research by the Danish Institute for Human Rights finds that over 90% of the targets included in the Sustainable Development Goals have concrete links to human rights instruments and labor standards.  With this in mind, there is an opportunity to integrate climate change and sustainable development considerations into the Universal Periodic Review. This will help breakdown silos between review bodies and mechanisms, improve communications and help the UN live up to its guiding principle: to deliver as one.

In seeking to integrate these processes, we urge the Council to put a premium on ensuring that the voices of civil society and underrepresented groups, including children, are proactively fostered and incorporated. Creating more robust and inclusive platforms for civil society and children’s participation is essential to the shared goals of advancing effective implementation and monitoring mechanisms of the SDGs and Paris Climate Agreement.

We thank you.

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