‘Climate change is human rights issue’ — CHR

Published May 6, 2022, 4:30 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

“Deliberate obstinacy” on the part of the government to address climate change “could be equated to violations of the human rights of its citizens.”

This was stressed by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Friday, May 6, as it released its report on National Inquiry on Climate Change (NICC).

The report detailed the duties and responsibilities of the government and private businesses in addressing climate change and protecting the environment.

“The findings and recommendations in the report are informed by science and governance experts, and may be considered by political and executive branches of government, as well as by courts,” the CHR said.

It said “the report intends to help identify and elaborate on basic rights and duties relative to climate change, as well as to amplify standards for corporate behavior.”

The report was released at the CHR’s central office in Diliman, Quezon City. Former CHR Commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz released the report as focal commissioner handling the NICC.

Cadiz stressed that climate change is a human rights issue and the government has “the duty to address the issue.”

In its 161-page report, the CHR recommended that the Philippine government should commit to the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) and formulate a national action plan on business and human rights.

The commitment, it said, will ensure that business enterprises, in the conduct of activities, do not violate the fundamental freedom of individuals and communities.

In the report, the CHR also recommended that the government declare a climate and environmental alert.

“The government must recognize the need for urgent measures to address the impacts of climate change. There must be acknowledgment that anthropogenic climate change, if left unmitigated, can lead to global extinction,” it said.

It also recommended the adoption of the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-Sustainable Transport Initiative to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector.

“This includes policies that will discourage unnecessary travel, create more energy efficient routes, modernize railways and the public transport system, and improve vehicle energy efficiency through better inspection and enforcement,” the CHR said.

To have an effective adaptation of climate action, the CHR stressed that there must be a proper framework policy mandating the sharing, reporting, and verification of climate data from scientists, meteorologists, and researchers from the government and private sector.

The framework policy will lead to better infrastructure development, coastal planning, climate risk reduction, and forest management, it pointed out.