Solving the Climate Crisis Together

ECNL: A Message to the Delegates at COP26

Published: November 2021

As the world convened in November 2021 for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), civil society globally faced increased restrictions on freedom of assembly and environmental activism, which was only exacerbated by government responses to COVID-19.

This article, written by Eszter Hartay and Ivana Rosenzweigov from the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law, highlights that states and civil society cooperation are necessary to slowing the climate crisis. However, disproportionate government restrictions on the right to protest, free speech, access to information, and freedom of association are limiting the public’s ability to participate in decision-making in environmental issues. In addition, environmental defenders regularly face threats of physical violence. According to the UNSR on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, over 70% of the human rights defenders killed each year are defending the environment.

According to various international laws and standards, states are obligated to ensure the protection environmental activists, but many times fail to do so. In response, the ECNL lays out pledges for COP26 delegates to follow for promoting civil society collaboration crucial to slowing the climate crisis.

These pledges are:

  • Create an enabling environment for the right to freedom of association, assembly, participation and expression.
  • Remove restrictive measures and approaches.
  • Engage civil society and communities to meaningfully participate in all climate and just-transition policy development and implementation at all levels of decision-making.
  • Be accountable and put in place transparent and inclusive processes to monitor and report the implementation of the Paris Agreement and other climate commitments, including those coming out from the COP26.

You can read the full article via Open Global Rights here.