High-level Event on Environmental Human Rights Defenders

High-level Event on Environmental Human Rights Defenders

Date and time: 1 March 2022, 1400-1530 (Geneva/Stockholm) Organized by: Government Offices of Sweden Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and OHCHR

Focus: Strengthening States’ commitments to protect environmental human rights defenders.

Event description: The situation of environmental human rights defenders continues to be of great concern. Credible reports document the dangerous circumstances under which they work; intimidations, harassment, verbal and physical threats, violence, and killings are common. According to Global Witness, on average four environmental human rights defenders were killed every week during 2020 for their work protecting the environment – including from deforestation and industrial development.

This high-level event will invite ministers and other participants to reconfirm the international community’s commitments to defend and support environmental human rights defenders and muster support to increase states’ action to promote and protect their rights. The milestone Human Rights Council resolution ”40/11 Recognizing the contribution of environmental human rights defenders to the enjoyment of human rights, environmental protection and sustainable development” and other policy developments including Human Rights Council resolution ”48/13 on the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment” will inform discussions on how to deliver on states’ commitments to protect and support environmental human rights defenders – in line with the Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights.

The high-level event will see the participation of environmental human rights defenders who will speak about their lived experiences to enhance a better understanding of the situation on the ground.

Desired outcomes: • Increased understanding and awareness about the dangerous circumstances in which en- vironmental human rights defenders undertake their work. • Build momentum among high-level decisionmakers to increase efforts to protect and support environmental human rights defenders. • Conclusions from the event will inspire a Joint Statement on environmental human rights defenders to be delivered at the Human Rights Council.

Expected Reach: This event is expected to appeal to a global audience, due to its focus on a current and urgent issue that needs renewed commitment from the international community. High-level panellists will further attract participation. The virtual meeting format is intended to enhance participation from around the world.

Panellists and moderator: Ms Matilda Ernkrans, Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden; Ms Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Ms Joan Carling, Global Director, Indigenous Peoples Rights International; Mr Rodolfo Solano Quirós, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica; Ms Isobel Coleman, Deputy Administrator for Policy and Programming, USAID and Ms Anabela Lemos, Director, Justiça Ambiental.

Moderator of the event is Mr Niklas Kebbon, Head of Department for International Law, Human Rights and Treaty Law, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden.


Additional high-level representatives of governments and civil society will be invited to participate in the discussion that follows the panel.


To register for this event, please visit the following web page:

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For additional information: Concept Note.pdf (101.0 KB)

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