Concept

Project

CONCEPT

Samarkand Forum on Human Rights on the topic

"Environmental Challenges: The Future of Human Rights in a Changing World and the Search for Sustainable Solutions"

 

general information

 

Climate change is a fundamental challenge to human rights. It directly affects many fundamental rights, including the rights to life, health, food, clean water and safe housing. One of the most troubling aspects of climate change is its impact on the enjoyment of basic human rights. These impacts are wide-ranging and profound, from threats to health and life from catastrophic weather conditions such as hurricanes and droughts, to decreased access to clean water and food. Climate change is also leading to increased social and economic instability, which can contribute to conflict and mass migration.

Climate change causes violations of human rights, especially of vulnerable categories of the population, as it exacerbates existing inequalities among the population. Climate change causes the greatest harm to vulnerable groups, in particular children, women, persons with disabilities , youth, migrants, indigenous peoples and minorities – i.e. those who contributed least to global warming.

UNICEF calls the climate crisis a “child rights crisis.” More than 500 million children live in areas at extremely high risk of flooding from extreme weather events, while an estimated 160 million children live in areas vulnerable to severe drought. Inaction on climate change exacerbates this immediate threat to the right to development of youth and future generations.

Climate change also poses serious threats to global health. WHO also emphasizes that climate change threatens the main determinants of health: clean water, clean air, adequate nutrition and safe housing. For example, an increase in the frequency and intensity of heat waves is leading to an increase in the incidence of heat stress and cardiovascular disease. Climate change also contributes to the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue.

The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment , David R. Boyd , estimates that “150,000 premature deaths a year are caused by the climate crisis . ”

Despite the fact that Central Asia's contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions barely reaches 2% of the global share, the region is one of the most vulnerable to climate change. According to the International Monetary Fund, the rate of “heating” of Central Asia exceeds global indicators by 2 times. Over the past 30 years, temperatures have increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the rest of the planet (0.7 degrees).

A key element in the fight against climate change is the development of sustainable technologies and practices, as well as the promotion of environmental education and awareness , strengthening legislative measures to protect the environment and human rights, and ensuring adequate funding for projects aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate change .

In the context of combating climate change, it is essential that all measures and policies taken are based on human rights standards. This means that any action to mitigate climate change must take into account the needs and rights of the most vulnerable people, including indigenous peoples, poor communities and countries most at risk.

In this sense, international cooperation plays a key role in addressing climate change. This requires countries to agree on policy, financing and technology exchange to ensure a sustainable and equitable future for all. It is also important to consider that combating climate change is not only the responsibility of governments, but also an area where every individual can make a contribution, whether through personal choices in everyday life or through participation in civic initiatives.

The initiative of the President of Uzbekistan at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly is an example of such cooperation. Realizing the quintessence of consolidation of efforts, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev took the initiative to adopt a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly “Central Asia in the face of global climate threats: solidarity for common prosperity.”

This initiative is primarily focused on the threats of global climate change in Central Asia, which represents a significant step towards regional and international cooperation. Together, based on the principles of solidarity, this initiative highlights the critical importance of Central Asian countries coming together to address challenges such as desertification and water security, which directly impact sustainable development and the well-being of their people.

In addition to the regional aspect, the importance of this initiative is enhanced by attracting international attention to the specific climate problems of Central Asia. This approach not only provides the opportunity to mobilize the necessary resources, but also stimulates the international community to more actively interact and search for joint solutions.

This initiative also serves as an important example for other regions of the world, demonstrating how regional cooperation and support from the international community can help address global environmental challenges. The proposed initiative helps strengthen international dialogue and cooperation in the fight against climate change, emphasizing that such global challenges require collective and coordinated efforts at all levels.

At the 75th session of the UN General Assembly in 2021, on the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan Sh.M. Mirziyoyev adopted a resolution “On declaring the Aral Sea region a zone of environmental innovation and technology.” This is the first region to which the General Assembly granted such status. In the Aral Sea region, from 2018 to 2022, work was carried out to create forests on an area of 1,624 thousand hectares, 278 hectares of green spaces and public parks were created, and 46.5 million trees and shrubs were planted. In the Republic of Karakalpakstan and the Khorezm region, centralized water supply has significantly improved.

 

International mechanisms and instruments for the protection of human rights in the context of climate change

 

Fundamental UN documents place great importance on ensuring the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. They recognize that sustainable development in its three dimensions - social, economic and environmental - and the protection of the environment, including ecosystems, promote and promote well-being and the enjoyment of all human rights.

The UN's diverse activities are of greatest importance in countering negative climate change. The issue of climate change is one of the highest priority and discussed topics of the United Nations. Through specialized agencies, the UN creates and develops various programs whose goal is adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change, the introduction of new technologies and their financing, as well as increasing the level of awareness and education of the population.

One of the global goals of sustainable development, enshrined in the Agenda 2030 – Goal 13 take urgent action to combat climate change. Climate change has an impact on the achievement of all sustainable development goals. In particular, climate change deprives people of traditional sources of income, thereby preventing the eradication of poverty (SDG 1), and negatively affects agriculture, which reduces the level of food security (SDG 2). Climate change has a negative impact on human health (SDG 3), as natural disasters kill and maim thousands of people and cause the spread of food-borne, waterborne and vector-borne diseases.

The international fight against climate change began with the adoption of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Rio de Janeiro , which provides a codification of environmental law. This Convention was the first international agreement aimed at combating global warming and its consequences. The Convention defines the most general areas of action to combat global climate change.

The Declaration establishes an obligation for states to adopt effective environmental legislation. The provision is established that environmental standards, goals, regulations and priorities must reflect the environmental and development conditions in which they are applied. Standards applied by some countries may be inappropriate and impose unreasonable economic and social costs in other countries, particularly developing countries.

To implement and detail the Framework Convention, the Paris Agreement was adopted , which defines the global goal for adaptation, which is to increase resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change. The agreement emphasizes that each party prepares contributions at the national level, goals that the state intends to achieve.
By 2018, the Paris Agreement had been ratified by 175 states, 168 of which had provided national contributions to the UNFCCC Secretariat.

The issue of climate change was highlighted as part of the Global Report of the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council, which emphasized that climate change is a reality that affects every region of the world and that solving this problem requires a strong commitment from all states to act together.

One of the instruments in UN climate policy is the World Meteorological Organization. WMO is "the UN system's authoritative source of information on the state and behavior of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the resulting climate and the emerging distribution of water resources." Also considered the most important organization in the fight is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is an organization that brings together several hundred scientists from 130 countries and is important for understanding the state of global climate policy. A large number of international negotiations and documents regulating this area are based on the conclusions provided by experts of this organization.

The panel notes that the warming of the climate system, changes in the oceans and cryosphere, maintaining land productivity to maintain food security as population increases and the negative impacts of climate change on vegetation, in addition to anthropogenic pressures, are a global challenge that poses a threat to development and progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals.

As part of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in 2023 (UNFCCC COP) - COP, 28,123 countries, including Uzbekistan, signed a declaration on climate and health, recognizing the need to protect populations and prepare health systems to cope with the consequences of global warming, such as extreme heat, air pollution and infectious diseases. In addition, a plan was agreed to reduce emissions from the use of refrigeration appliances.

For the first time since the UN climate summits, a declaration on sustainable agriculture was brought up for discussion. This historic moment highlights recognition of the importance and impact of agriculture on climate change, and the need to develop sustainable practices in this area.

The fact that leading international associations are engaged in the development of environmental policy confirms the significance of this problem for modern society. These organizations unite almost all countries of the world, so their joint activities play a significant role in the fight against climate change. The adoption of balanced international legal acts, providing for mechanisms and standards that must be implemented, and their implementation in national legal systems will lead to the development of a legal framework within which states will develop and take care of nature.

 

Green agenda of Uzbekistan

 

For many years, Uzbekistan, being the country most vulnerable to climate change, has been focusing attention at almost all international and regional platforms at the highest level on the problems associated with the drying up of the Aral Sea, desertification and land degradation, temperature changes, and the increasing incidence of natural disasters.

In response to these challenges, one of the priority areas of Uzbekistan’s state policy has become the fight against the consequences of climate change. The country is making active efforts to minimize the impact of global warming through multi-level, integrated approaches.

Taking into account the seriousness of these problems of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the new version of the constitution provides for a separate chapter on environmental protection. In particular, Article 49 enshrines the rights to a favorable environment and reliable information about its condition. The state undertakes to implement measures to improve, restore and protect the environment, as well as maintain ecological balance, following the principles of sustainable development. The Constitution pays special attention to the consequences of the Aral crisis. The state is taking active measures to protect and restore the ecological system, and also promotes the social and economic development of the Aral Sea region. This includes targeted efforts to restore ecosystems and ensure the resilience of social and economic structures.

It should be noted that special attention has been paid to solving environmental problems in the republic in recent years. In 2017 , Uzbekistan became a party to the Paris Agreement. To implement it, in 2019, a Strategy for the transition to a “green” economy for the period 2019-2030 was developed, one of the main objectives of which is to increase the energy efficiency of the economy and rational consumption of natural resources.

Currently, more than 30 legislative acts and about 200 by-laws in the field of ecology, environmental protection and rational use of natural resources are in force in Uzbekistan. These include the laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the protection of nature”, “On the protection of atmospheric air”, “On water and water use”, “On the protection and use of flora”, “On the protection and use of fauna”, “On protected natural areas” ”, “About subsoil”, “About waste”, “On environmental assessment”, “On environmental control”, “On environmental audit”, “On sanitary and epidemiological well-being of the population”. In particular, in order to improve the legislative framework on environmental protection and rational use of natural resources, the Laws “On Forests” were adopted in 2018 in recent years. and “On the use of renewable energy sources” in 2019, on the basis of which a number of decrees and departmental regulations were adopted - rules, regulations, instructions that specify the norms of the law and facilitate their correct application.

In 2019, the national Environmental Concept until 2030 was adopted for the first time, which is a program document and determines the development of the country’s environmental policy for the medium term. Currently, a draft environmental code of the Republic of Uzbekistan has been prepared.

The country's participation in international environmental conventions is expanding. Thus, only recently, in 2019, Uzbekistan became a party to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity, accession to which was unjustifiably delayed for a long time.

In addition to national efforts, Uzbekistan takes a leading position in actively promoting significant climate initiatives. These initiatives are aimed not only at strengthening cooperation within the region, but also at the international level, helping to unite efforts in the fight against climate change.

The Regional Green Agenda program for Central Asia, initiated by the Head of Uzbekistan at the 3rd Consultative Meeting of Heads of State and positively received by all its participants, deserves special attention. At the 4th Consultative Meeting of Heads of State, a significant event was the adoption of this program by the leaders of five countries.

A logical continuation of the formation of a unified climate agenda for Central Asia was the initiative of Uzbekistan, announced during the 5th meeting of heads of state, to develop a Regional Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change.

In addition, at the summit of Central Asian countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the head of state pointed out the importance of implementing joint projects in the green energy segment. Also, in order to transform and digitalize sectors of the economy, at the BRI forum, the Head of State proposed to develop a Green Development Program and create a Green Financing Fund for the formation of a low-carbon economy and clean technologies.

In this vein, the UN Conference (COP28) on climate change became another platform where President Shavkat From a high rostrum , Mirziyoyev once again addressed the world community with a call to action and the collective responsibility of humanity in the fight against climate change. Thus, it was proposed to consider the problems of global warming on an ongoing basis, including within the framework of the G7 and G20 summits.

Along with this, the president voiced a proposal to hold two major international events in Uzbekistan in 2024.

The first is to hold a conference jointly with the UN on the topic “Climate Migration”. This is especially important as climate change forces people across the planet, which can lead to resource shortages, increased competition for jobs and social tensions. World Bank estimates indicate that by 2050, 216 million people in 6 regions of the Earth could become “climate refugees.”

Second. Organize a COP Youth Conference dedicated to improving the environmental culture of young people and enhancing their participation in environmental and environmental activities. This step is in line with the UN Youth 2030 strategy, which prioritizes ensuring the meaningful participation of young people in policy-making and decision-making processes on environmental safety issues.

An important step in this direction was Uzbekistan’s support at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly to establish the post of Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Water Resources. The support of this initiative by the head of state from the UN rostrum helps to promote regional and international cooperation in the field of water resources management. This could, in the long term, lead to more sustainable development and protection of ecosystems in Central Asia."

Taking into account the efforts of Uzbekistan on issues of the climate agenda, which indicate that our country, as a subject of international relations, is ready to share responsibility for solving global problems. The “Impacts of Climate Change on Human Rights” forum can serve as a multilateral platform for a comprehensive discussion of working strategies and the development of long-term effective solutions to prevent future impacts of climate change on human rights.

 

GOAL, OBJECTIVES, FORMAT, EXPECTED RESULTS OF THE SAMARKAND HUMAN RIGHTS FORUM

 

The main goal of the Forum:

Conduct a wide-ranging and informative discussion on issues related to the impact of climate change on human rights. The event will provide participants with the opportunity not only to gain the necessary knowledge in this area, but also to exchange experiences and best practices within the international community. Particular attention will be paid to developing specific recommendations and solutions aimed at mitigating the negative impact of climate change on human rights. The discussion will be a platform for bringing together experts from various fields in order to develop effective strategies and approaches that promote sustainable development and protect the rights of every person in a changing climate.

 

The objectives of the Forum include:

- facilitating the exchange of current scientific and practical knowledge between forum participants for a better understanding of the impact of climate change on human rights;

- raising public and professional awareness regarding the relationship between climate change and human rights, aimed at active involvement in solving problems;

- discuss how climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and other environmental issues affect basic human rights, including the rights to health, water, food and safe housing;

- study and analysis of the impact of climate change on the rights of various groups of the population, vulnerable sections of society, and the development of specific strategies to mitigate their impact;

- formation of practical recommendations and strategies to improve the protection of human rights in the context of climate change;

- promoting interdisciplinary dialogue, bringing together specialists from various fields, for an integrated approach to the impact of climate on human rights;

- discussion and proposals for improving legal and political mechanisms at the national and international levels for the protection of human rights in the context of environmental problems.

- developing and promoting educational programs and campaigns to raise awareness of environmental challenges and their impact on human rights, as well as how each individual and community can contribute to sustainable development.

- promoting international cooperation and exchange of experience between countries to create effective measures and standards at the global level.;

- encouraging the development and implementation of innovative solutions in the field of climate change management that contribute to the protection of human rights.;

- maintaining and facilitating the formation of commitments and political declarations from forum participants for specific actions in the field of protecting human rights in the context of climate change.

- establishing mechanisms to monitor the impact of environmental change on human rights and progress towards implementing sustainable solutions, and ensuring transparency and accountability in this process.

- development of a final document summarizing the key conclusions of the forum and containing recommendations that can serve as the basis for subsequent actions and initiatives in the field of climate change and its impact on fundamental human rights.

 

Forum format

The forum will be held in Samarkand in a hybrid format. This format will allow a wider audience and experts from around the world to virtually participate in its discussion sessions.

The forum will include an opening ceremony, a closing ceremony and plenary sessions with environmental activists , environmental and human rights experts and keynote speakers. During plenary sessions, moderators will play an important role in keeping discussions focused by actively engaging the audience and using social media where possible.

Invited participants are expected to delve into the legal and conceptual aspects of the forum's topic, share best practices and conduct situational analyzes of the current state of affairs in their countries. They will present existing policies and programs affecting climate change and human rights and answer questions from the audience. Participants will also have the opportunity to draw on their experiences to propose concrete recommendations for policies and actions for various stakeholders at both national and international levels.

 

Program

Samarkand Forum on Human Rights

" Environmental Challenges: The Future of Human Rights in a Changing World and the Search for Sustainable Solutions "

 

Within the framework of the Forum, it is planned to hold 3 plenary sessions:

 

PLENARY SESSION 1:

GLOBAL TRENDS IN CLIMATE CHANGE AND THEIR IMPACT ON ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS IN THE CONTEXT OF VULNERABLE GROUPS.

 

The plenary session aims to take a deeper look at the impact of global climate change on social and economic rights. Particular attention is paid to the characteristics and vulnerabilities of individual population groups. During the session, work will be carried out to formulate specific recommendations and strategies.

An important part of the meeting will be a discussion of international experience and best practices in this area. The role of government agencies, international organizations and public institutions in the development and implementation of effective measures will be considered. It is also planned to analyze the potential risks and challenges that vulnerable groups may face and develop mechanisms to prevent and minimize them.

 

PLENARY SESSION 2:

GLOBAL STRATEGIES AND COOPERATION TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE CONDITION OF CLIMATE CHANGE

 

The upcoming session will examine in detail existing international and regional instruments aimed at effectively protecting human rights in a changing climate. The discussion will also touch upon established standards enshrined in international and regional documents.

The main goal of the session is to develop joint approaches and develop global strategies aimed at ensuring sustainable and equitable living conditions on the planet. During the discussions, attention will be paid not only to current problems, but also to promising solutions in the field of adaptation to climate change, as well as the prevention of negative social and environmental consequences.

It is planned that the result of the session will be a series of recommendations aimed at strengthening cooperation between countries and international organizations within the framework of global climate initiatives.

 

PLENARY SESSION 3:

THE ROLE OF BUSINESS AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE PROTECTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AND IMPLEMENTATION OF CLIMATE INITIATIVES

 

This plenary session is dedicated to discussing the key role of business and civil society in the effective implementation of climate initiatives. The main focus is on identifying important aspects of cooperation that contribute to achieving common climate goals.

During the session, specific steps and strategies will be identified aimed at strengthening partnerships between business and civil society in the fight against climate challenges. Particular attention will be paid to developing mechanisms for interaction and exchange of experience, which will allow more effective implementation of projects in the field of sustainable development and adaptation to climate change.

It is also planned to discuss the role of innovative technologies and new economic models in achieving climate goals at the meeting. Participants will look at examples of successful implementation of green technologies and sustainable business practices, and discuss ways to encourage environmentally responsible behavior both in the business environment and among the public.

 

Expected results:

Establishing a network of connections and promoting long-term partnerships among forum participants, creating a platform for ongoing information exchange and cooperation in the field of environmental human rights.

Create concrete recommendations targeted at governments, international organizations and civil society to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on human rights.

Strengthening educational and information components to raise public awareness about the relationship between climate change and human rights.

Promote concrete commitments from participants, including governments, organizations and civil society, to implement the forum's recommendations.

Develop strategies and action plans aimed at putting recommendations into practice to effectively respond to the challenges of climate change after the forum.

Support innovative initiatives to integrate human rights perspectives into climate change adaptation strategies.

Promote concrete commitments from participants, including governments, organizations and civil society, to implement the forum's recommendations.

Promoting the mutual exchange of experience and knowledge between different countries and regions, contributing to more effective protection of human rights in the context of climate change.

 

Organizers of the Forum

National Lead Organizer of the Forum

National Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights.

 

National partners:

Ministry of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change of the Republic of Uzbekistan

 

International partners:

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,

UN OHCHR Regional Office for Central Asia,

Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan,

Representative office of the United Nations Development Program in Uzbekistan,

Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan,

Representative offices of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Uzbekistan.

 

PARTICIPANTS

The international forum is attended by 200 participants, including politicians, local and foreign experts, human rights experts, climate experts, representatives of ministries working on climate change issues, civil society institutions, the media, research centers, companies, business circles and international organizations .

 

Date and place:

June 13-14, 2024, Samarkand

 

Working languages:

Uzbek, English and Russian languages

 

Contact Information:

National Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights.

Email : info@nhrc.uz

Phone / Fax : ( + 998 71) 239 47 22