On 1 December 2014, the International Bar Association (IBA) hosted a discussion in the House of Lords, London, on a report published by the IBA’s Task Force on Climate Change Justice, entitled “Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption.” The House of Lords discussion was hosted by former CNN anchor Todd Benjamin and included comments from Baroness Helena Kennedy QC (Co-Chair, IBA Presidential Task Force), Bianca Jagger (Founder and Chair, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation), Stephen Humphreys (Associate Professor of International Law, London School of Economics), Mark Kenber (CEO, The Climate Group), and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP associate Nicola Leslie.

The report was the product of two years’ work by the task force, which included many leading authorities on environmental and human rights issues. A team of Debevoise lawyers in New York and London provided pro bono assistance to the IBA in the significant research and editing of the report over the last 12 months. Former partner Catherine Amirfar, now acting as Counselor to the Legal Advisor of the US Department of State, served as a Vice Chair of the task force, and associates Nwamaka Genevieve Ejebe and Nicola Leslie acted as Secretaries to the task force. 

The ground breaking Report addresses the legal issues arising from climate change, such as the rights of those who may be displaced. The report runs to 240 pages and canvasses existing international, regional and domestic law regarding climate change (international environmental law, WTO law, human rights law, international dispute resolution, migration law and international adaptation law). 

The IBA’S report proposes over 50 recommendations across short, medium and long term timeframes for states, international organizations, domestic legislative, executive and judicial bodies, corporations, communities and individuals to progress climate change justice. Under the leadership of incoming IBA President and Debevoise partner David W. Rivkin, the IBA intends to work with these constituencies to follow up on the report’s recommendations.

The full report can be accessed here.

Details of the House of Lords Debate can be found here.