Addressing One of the Most Pressing Issues in Contemporary International Law
Can we promote environmental protection through existing human rights (HR) mechanisms? What protection does international law afford to ‘climate refugees’? What are the synergies and tensions between the legal protection of HR and the environment?
From the contamination of water bodies to the effects of climate change, the impact of environmental degradation on human life is one of the most pressing issues in contemporary international law.
This training course provides participants with a deep understanding of the international legal framework for the protection of HR and the environment as well as in-depth knowledge of how to promote environmental protection through existing HR mechanisms.
Evolution of the Situation Related to the Coronavirus Pandemic
In the unlikely event that some participants cannot come to Geneva for the training course, they will be able to follow the course online, including the sessions taking place at the United Nations.
Specific Focus on Water Pollution and Scarcity
This 2020 edition will dedicate special attention to water pollution and scarcity. Course attendants will participate in exercises to discuss the impacts of water pollution on human health, the responsibilities of states and businesses, vulnerable actors and environmental justice, and mechanisms at national and international levels to address actual and potential human rights violations.
The training course covers the following issues:
- The main international HR and environmental law instruments and mechanisms and the nature of state obligations under the two legal regimes
- Rights to information and participation in environment-related decision-making and the mandate of the Aarhus Compliance Committee
- Business accountability
- The rights of indigenous peoples, traditional local communities and environmental migrants
- The protection of human rights and environmental defenders
- The HR dimension of climate change, land, water, and biodiversity degradation
- Strategies to use international HR mechanisms to litigate and advocate for environmental protection
At the end of this course, participants will be:
- Familiar with the major international legal instruments for the promotion of HR and the conservation of the environment (e.g. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Convention on Biological Diversity and Protocols, Aarhus Convention, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNESCO World Heritage Convention
- Knowledgeable about the different UN mechanisms mandated to protect and promote human rights and the conservation of the environment, and how the agendas of the specialized agencies intersect
- Conversant with the role of civil society, national and international environmental and HR institutions, governments and non-state actors in relation to the protection of human rights and the environment
- Able to identify and effectively describe synergies and tensions in the realization of HR and the protection of the environment, to re-think their advocacy plans and devise new strategies for making better use of the UN HR mechanisms
- Able to address, via a rights-based approach, specific environmental challenges related to water pollution and its impact on human life.
Lecturers include Geneva Academy experts, renowned academic scholars, as well as senior professionals from international organizations and NGOs.
The course is interactive and participants are encouraged to share their own experiences and visions on the subject. The training sessions include lectures and expert panels, as well as practical examples and case studies. It also includes a week-long exercise on plastic pollution, in which different human rights challenges will be addressed. Sessions are designed to enhance knowledge exchange with peers and facilitators.
This training course is designed for staff of NGOs, business companies and research centres, national environmental and HR institutions, UN bodies and other international organizations, as well as representatives of governments and members of academia.
Fee informationThe training fee for this five-day programme is 1,530 Swiss Francs (30 percent discount for PhD and master students: the number of discounted places is limited, so if you qualify please apply soon!). It includes tuition costs, course materials, lunch and refreshments during coffee breaks.
How to Register
Application Applications must be submitted via this online application form.
If you have any questions, please email hrsandenvironment[at]geneva-academy.ch