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23-27 November 2020
Application start 1 April 2020
Application end 1 November 2020
Application end / With visa 21 September 2020
Fee: 1530 Swiss Francs

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The Protection of Human Rights and the Environment

Small irrigation system with polluted water in N’Zerekore, Guinea Small irrigation system with polluted water in N’Zerekore, Guinea

Addressing One of the Most Pressing Issues in Contemporary International Law

Can we promote environmental protection through existing human rights (HR) mechanisms? What protection does international law afford to ‘climate refugees’? What are the synergies and tensions between the legal protection of HR and the environment?

From the contamination of water bodies to the effects of climate change, the impact of environmental degradation on human life is one of the most pressing issues in contemporary international law.

This training course provides participants with a deep understanding of the international legal framework for the protection of HR and the environment as well as in-depth knowledge of how to promote environmental protection through existing HR mechanisms.

Specific Focus on Water Pollution and Scarcity

This 2020 edition will dedicate special attention to water pollution and scarcity. Course attendants will participate in exercises to discuss the impacts of water pollution on human health, the responsibilities of states and businesses, vulnerable actors and environmental justice, and mechanisms at national and international levels to address actual and potential human rights violations.

Evolution of the Situation Related to the Coronavirus Pandemic

In the unlikely event that some participants cannot come to Geneva for the training course, they will be able to follow the course online, including the sessions taking place at the United Nations.

Programme

The training course covers the following issues:

  • The main international HR and environmental law instruments and mechanisms and the nature of state obligations under the two legal regimes
  • Rights to information and participation in environment-related decision-making and the mandate of the Aarhus Compliance Committee
  • Business accountability
  • The rights of indigenous peoples, traditional local communities and environmental migrants
  • The protection of human rights and environmental defenders
  • The HR dimension of climate change, land, water, and biodiversity degradation
  • Strategies to use international HR mechanisms to litigate and advocate for environmental protection

Benefits

At the end of this course, participants will be:

  • Familiar with the major international legal instruments for the promotion of HR and the conservation of the environment (e.g. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Convention on Biological Diversity and Protocols, Aarhus Convention, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNESCO World Heritage Convention
  • Knowledgeable about the different UN mechanisms mandated to protect and promote human rights and the conservation of the environment, and how the agendas of the specialized agencies intersect
  • Conversant with the role of civil society, national and international environmental and HR institutions, governments and non-state actors in relation to the protection of human rights and the environment
  • Able to identify and effectively describe synergies and tensions in the realization of HR and the protection of the environment, to re-think their advocacy plans and devise new strategies for making better use of the UN HR mechanisms
  • Able to address, via a rights-based approach, specific environmental challenges related to water pollution and its impact on human life.

Lecturers

Lecturers include Geneva Academy experts, renowned academic scholars, as well as senior professionals from international organizations and NGOs.

Methodology

The course is interactive and participants are encouraged to share their own experiences and visions on the subject. The training sessions include lectures and expert panels, as well as practical examples and case studies. It also includes a week-long exercise on plastic pollution, in which different human rights challenges will be addressed. Sessions are designed to enhance knowledge exchange with peers and facilitators.

Audience

This training course is designed for staff of NGOs, business companies and research centres, national environmental and HR institutions, UN bodies and other international organizations, as well as representatives of governments and members of academia.

Certification

Participants who successfully complete the training course receive a certificate of participation from the Geneva Academy.

Fee

The training fee for this five-day programme is 1,530 Swiss Francs (30 percent discount for PhD and master students: the number of discounted places is limited, so if you qualify please apply soon!). It includes tuition costs, course materials, lunch and refreshments during coffee breaks.

It is payable as soon as your place has been confirmed. As places on the training course are limited, participation can only be secured through the payment of the fee.

All participants are responsible for their own travel costs to Geneva, including Swiss visa fees and evening meals (approximately 30 Swiss Francs per meal).

Accommodation

Participants can request on-campus accommodation via the online application form. Due to the limited places available, accommodation is not guaranteed. Participants seeking on-campus accommodation are encouraged to request it as soon as possible.

How to Apply

Application Applications must be submitted via the online application form.

If you have any questions, please email hrsandenvironment[at]geneva-academy.ch

Videos

The 2020 Edition of our Training Course on the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment: Focus on Water Pollution and Scarcity

Dr Adriana Bessa, a Senior Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy, tells us about the upcoming edition of our training course on human rights and the environment which will notably discuss the impacts of water pollution on human health, the responsibilities of states and businesses, vulnerable actors and environmental justice, and mechanisms at national and international levels to address actual and potential human rights violations.

The 2020 Edition of our Training Course on the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment: Meet our Lecturers

Yves Lador is the Permanent Representative of EarthJustice in Geneva and a lecturer in this training course. He tells us about the relationship between the protection of human rights and the environment and the focus of the course.

The 2020 Edition of our Training Course on the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment: Meet our Lecturers

Joshua Cooper is the Executive Director of the Hawaii Institute for Human Rights and a lecturer in this training course. He tells us about the course and its features, including visits to the UN Human Rights Council and the Aarhus Compliance Committee, as well as his lecture on human rights defenders and environmental defenders.

Training Course on the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment: What Participants Say

Pooja Navikumar is a Communication and Marketing Specialist. She attended the 2019 edition of our training course on the protection of human rights and the environment and tells us about the course, its highlights and why she would recommend it.

Training Course on the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment: What Participants Say

Seun Bakare is a Programme Manager at Amnesty International in Nigeria. He attended the 2019 edition of our training course on the protection of human rights and the environment and tells us about the course and why he would recommend it.

Professors and Lecturers

Picture of Adriana Bessa

Adriana Bessa

Senior Research Fellow

Adriana Bessa's research areas include the rights of traditional local communities, the draft declaration on the rights of peasants and the right to food.

PIcture of Yves Lador

Yves Lador

Permanent Representative of Earthjustice in Geneva

Picture of Anne Althaus

Anne Althaus

Migration Law Officer, International Organization for Migration

Picture of Elena Cima

Elena Cima

Lecturer at the Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of Geneva

Picture of Nataliya Nikiforova

Nataliya Nikiforova

Environmental Affairs Officer at United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Sandra Ratjen

International Advocacy Director, Franciscans International

Location

Villa Moynier 120B Rue de Lausanne Geneva

Access

Public Transport

Tram 15, Direction Nations - tram stop Butini

Bus 1 or 25, Direction Jardin Botanique - bus stop Sécheron

Access for people with disabilities

Villa Moynier is accessible to people with disabilities. If you have a disability or any additional needs and require assistance in order to participate fully, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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