Today, the UN human rights committee mandated to review states’ respect for and protection of women’s rights (CEDAW Committee*), expressed concerns about the climate impacts of oil and gas extraction in the Arctic and the adverse consequences for women’s rights. The committee noted that, given the disproportionate impacts of climate change on women, the Norwegian State should review its policy on oil and gas extraction.
The CEDAW Committee has repeatedly emphasised the need for States to address the impacts of climate change on women and to ensure that women can adequately participate in climate-related policy making. The Committee is currently finalising a new general recommendation, which will lay out the obligations of States with respect to women’s rights in the context of reducing risks of climate-induced disasters. With today’s recommendation, the CEDAW Committee highlighted that women’s rights must also guide climate and energy policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement only require States to account for emissions of greenhouse gases generated within their national territory. On the other hand, obligations under UN human rights treaties require States to take measures to reduce any contributions to climate change that might be linked to the actions of the States, which includes emissions resulting from the export of fossil fuels” said Sébastien Duyck, Senior Attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). “Consequently, human rights obligations can play a critical role complementing climate agreements to compel states to take all measures in their capacity in order to prevent dangerous climate change.”