Workshops

Conference participants were able to attend two of the following workshops:

The right to knowledge

Knowledge and information are important tools in the fight against climate change. What do we have a right to know about? How do we tackle the continued denial of climate change by some scientists? Knowledge can be used and also misused in the form of misinformation. What are the rights of indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent to development projects. Human rights has generally relied on principles whereas climate change policies and campaigns rely heavily on data: are these different approaches reconcilable?

Chair: Tom Porteous (London Director, Human Rights Watch)
Speakers: Ishbel Matheson (Head of Policy and Communications, Minority Rights Group International) and Alison Dilworth (Campaigner Rights and Justice Team, Friends of the Earth)

The right to space

Access to space and land structures the majority of people's lives across the globe. What role do borders and immigration policies play in climate change policies and debates? How should people fleeing environmental disaster caused by climate change be classified? Who is likely to be most affected? How should states prepare for short and longer term population displacement? Considering the significant relationship to land and space many indigenous people and communities have, it is important to consider the ramifications of climate change and displacement.

Chair: Professor Diane Perrons (Gender Institute, LSE)
Speakers: Julien Betaille of Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth, E France) and Cleo Paskal (Energy, Environment and Development Programme, Chatham House)

The right to resist

Social movements and political resistance continue to achieve significant social change worldwide. Can social movements make their voices and demands heard in climate discussions, where governments and corporations have seemed unprepared to act? What is the difference between rights in abstract and putting them into practice through political engagement and protest? Should workers have the right to resist the imposition of the cost of responding to climate change? Is the curtailment of civil liberties having a direct impact on the ability of society to affect change? What is the role of direct action?

Chair: Professor Conor Gearty (Centre for the Study of Human Rights, LSE)
Speakers: Eduardo Gill- Pedro (Liberty) and Phil Mcleish

The right to development

The right to development traditionally finds support in developing states that seek a just economic order and a fair share of the world's resources. Climate change introduces unforeseen issues, in particular that the right to development needs to be understood as a right to sustainable development and subsequently, that the idea of freedom to develop is under pressure to be reviewed. Do peoples have the right to exploit their natural resources even if that is detrimental to the rights of others? How is this balanced with the rights of indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent or ability to inform climate policies? How will climate change influence our understanding of rights, freedoms and trade-offs?

Chair: Professor Jo Beall (Development Studies, LSE)
Speakers: Dr Margot Salomon (Centre for the Study of Human Rights, LSE) and Tom Picken (Campaigner Rights and Justice Team, Friends of the Earth)

The right to pollute and exploit

The expansion of business operations is often associated with environmental pollution and human rights violations, leading to a growing concern that business enjoys a great deal of power, with little responsibility or accountability. Some argue that this process of industrialisation is necessary to provide conditions for the development of a strong civil society, which then helps to codify a rights framework and holds the 'Nation State' accountable for implementing these rights. What is the relationship between human and environmental rights and the rights of corporations? How do corporate liberties and environmental and human rights relate? Given the impacts of globalisation strong Northern Corporate rights often sit alongside weak individual rights in the South. How does this change the role of global civil society in upholding a rights discourse?

Chair: Arvind Ganesan (Business and Human Rights Director, Human Right Watch)
Speakers: Kevin Smith (TransNational Institute Carbon Trade Watch) and Alexis Rwabizambuga (Centre for the Study of Human Rights, LSE)

The right to a healthy environment

Many have proposed that people have the right to a healthy environment as it is essential to human life. Could such a right it be used to assist communities affected by climate change? Does it entail equitable access to resources and if so how does it relate to other rights, particularly those concerning development and property? Who holds such a right - communities, animals, ecosystems? Are future generations entitled to "inherit the Earth in a condition comparable to that enjoyed by previous generations?" (Edith Brown-Weiss). If there is such a right, how best can it be protected, domestically and internationally?

Chair:
Dr Alastair Cochrane (Centre for the Study of Human Rights, LSE)
Speakers: Karen MacDonald (Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College) and Gita Parihar (Solicitor, Friends of the Earth)

Conference Programme

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