Supporting Environmental Defenders

 

As public attention grows to the changing conditions of environmental civil society and defenders, increasing research, civil society and multilateral initiatives are emerging to better understand and respond. This event sought to bring together a number of such initiatives to take stock of the situation, review existing support initiatives and debate possible responses modalities informing a Geneva Road Map. This Road Map aims to inform both human rights and conservation policy processes and seeks to kick-off more systematic collaboration in the long-term.

As a follow-up to the HRC Resolution 40/11, the Geneva Road Map will seek to ensure the effective implementation of the right to act for the protection of the environment and to promote free and safe spaces for information and discussion on environmental matters. It aims to provide a collective platform in which initiatives and commitments of States, civil society, research and academia or private actors could be supportive of each other.

The launch of this Road Map included a 2-day technical workshop and dialogue co-organized with academic partners (The University of Geneva in collaboration with the University of Sussex, the University of British Columbia, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, Earthjustice, the Geneva Environmental Network, the Geneva Science-Policy Interface and Special Rapporteurs). The sequence of events was planned for Geneva in conjunction with events at the Human Rights Council and the World Conservation Congress held in Marseille, June, 2020.

https://www.unige.ch/gedt/recherches/projets/public-roundtable-supporting-environmental-defenders/

Responding to the needs of environmental civil society and defenders

Technical meeting hosted by the University of Geneva and co-sponsored by academic, NGO and UN partners to help articulate and put forward possible steps of action for the research, environmental and human rights community. The Palais Eynard dialogue gathering some 25 experts, organizations and representatives of defender networks sought to take stock of initiatives and help shape key building blocks for the Geneva Road Map.

Supporting environmental defenders: how can we mobilize the international community?

As a global hub of international diplomacy, how can the international community in Geneva be mobilized to help protect environmental defenders and civic spaces?

This public event combined testimonies from environmental defenders with recent academic analysis and responses from high-level representatives from International Geneva and the Mayor of Geneva.

Read more about this event: https://www.genevaenvironmentnetwork.org/26feb2020.html

The Environmental Human Rights Defenders Crisis

  • To give an echo to what was discussed at the conference and raise awareness among the international community and diplomats about findings and emerging priorities for the Road Map.
  • To elaborate the calendar of events to be included in the 2020 Road Map.

As demonstrated in several reports, including those of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, individuals acting to protect the environment increasingly face heightened risks and suffer grave violations of their rights as a result of their defence of the environment, land, and indigenous rights. They are subjected to harassment, threats, intimidation, stigma, criminalization, detention, and even killings from both State and non-State actors.

A wide range of civil society and multilateral efforts are emerging. On 21 March 2019, the Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 40/11 recognizing the contribution of environmental human rights defenders and the obligations of States to respect their fundamental rights.

As a follow-up, a Road map was launched by networks and organizations in 2020 to strengthen its implementation. Its preparation includes an expert meeting to help articulate and put forward possible steps of action for the research, environmental and human rights communities to feed into Human Rights processes as well as Environmental ones such as the IUCN World Conservation Congress in June 2020 in Marseille.

This Side-event explored how to mobilize the international community from both the human rights and the conservation fields to respond to the on-going crisis and join forces towards the implementation of Resolution 40/11. How to strengthen the effective implementation of the right to act for the protection of the environment and to promote free and safe spaces for information and discussion on environmental matters?

Read more about this event: https://www.genevaenvironmentnetwork.org/27feb2020.html

Blog on the event:

http://www.expert-ise.ch/environmental-defenders-crisis-towards-geneva-road-map

 

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GENEVA ROAD MAP