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Exploring the Nexus between Climate Change and Human Rights – Working Paper No. 345

Exploring the Nexus between Climate Change and Human Rights - Working Paper No. 345

Climate change is described as the defining challenge of our generation (Wang and Horton 2015). It poses direct and indirect threats to food security (Campbell et al. 2016), human security (Nordstrøm 2010) and global health (Bowles et al. 2015). It has also been described as a threat multiplier that can intensify and prolong conflicts (ibid.). Climate change involves increased temperatures, changes in precipitation, hazards, extreme weather events and sea level rise which impacts human rights through multiple pathways (Mason and Rigg 2019).
Human rights are understood as moral standards that are held by all people, they can also be formalised as legal rights (Bell 2013). Its widely accepted that the rights to subsistence and food, life and security and health are basic human rights (ibid.).

To understand the full impact of climate change on human rights, it is crucial to realise their interconnected nature (Limon 2009), a violation of one right leads to the violation of others.
This paper examines the link between climate change and the rights to food, security and health in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Africa is described as the most climate vulnerable continent (Quirico and Boumghar 2015). Von Uexkull (2016) finds that SSA will be hit most severely by regional warming, resulting in increased food insecurity, resource scarcity, extreme weather and conflicts. Climate change will also exacerbate existing socioeconomic risks and vulnerabilities (Field et al. 2014).
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