Human Rights & the Environment

Human Rights, the Environment and Climate Change

thematic area hr and environmentIt doesn’t require extensive reflection to recognize the connection between human rights, the environment and climate change, yet it took the international community until October last year to finally recognise the right to a healthy environment, and to appoint a UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change.

The impacts of environmental degradation and climate change on the enjoyment of human rights are deep and widespread. People lose their lives, livelihoods, and homes in floods and storms, which are increasing in frequency and magnitude as the Earth warms. Crops fail, water resources dry up, and people move in a variety of ways as environmental pressures interact with other political, social, economic, demographic and other dynamics. Air pollution from fossil fuel burning increases respiratory disease incidence, and contributes to more than four million deaths per year, whilst toxic chemicals engender adverse health impacts, at times even across generations.

To read more about the connections between human rights and the environment click here.

Get in touch

Matthew Scott

Matthew Scott

Head of Thematic Area Human Rights and the Environment

E-mail: matthew.scott@rwi.lu.se

Matthew Scott is head of the Human Rights and the Environment thematic area at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Lund, Sweden.

His work focuses on integrating social science perspectives with international legal standards to promote context-sensitive, human rights-based law, policy and practice relating to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. His primary area of expertise concerns migration and displacement in the context of disasters and climate change, on which he has published a monograph entitled Climate Change, Disasters and the Refugee Convention (CUP 2020), an edited volume entitled Climate Change, Disasters and Internal Displacement in Asia and the Pacific: A Human Rights-Based Approach (Routledge 2021), and a range of book chapters and academic articles in, amongst others, the International Journal of Refugee Law, the Nordic Journal of International Law and the Yearbook of International Disaster Law. The edited volume was a major output of a regional thematic study he coordinated as part of RWI’s Asia-Pacific programme on human rights and sustainable development. Current research interests concern the role of local authorities in addressing climate- and disaster-related migration and displacement, and how human rights law can contribute to building resilience to pandemic risk.

Matthew holds a PhD in Public International Law from Lund University (2018) and a MA in Social Anthropology of Development from SOAS (1998). He practiced immigration and asylum law before entering academia. He is a member of the advisory committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement, a member of the editorial board of the Yearbook of International Disaster Law, and a founding member of the Nordic Network on Climate Related Displacement and Mobility.

At Lund University, he convenes the LLM course on human rights law, the environment and climate change, and lectures on international refugee law and international human rights law at the Faculty of Law. He also lectures on the MSc programme in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation at the Department of Risk Management and Societal Safety.

Matthew is also actively engaged in international collaboration initiatives and is currently contributing technical expertise on human rights-based approaches to disaster risk reduction across eight countries in Asia in collaboration with the Asia Disaster Preparedness Center, Stockholm Environment Institute and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency.

Read more about Matthew’s work here.

Selected publications

Nordic Norms, Natural Disasters, and International Protection: Swedish and Finnish Practice in European Perspective (Nordic Journal of International Law, 2022, with Russell Garner)

Climate Change, Disasters and Internal Displacement in Asia and the Pacific: A Human Rights-Based Approach (Routledge 2021)

Pandemic Preparedness and Response: National COVID-19 Law and Policy in Human Rights Perspective (RWI 2021, with Elina Hammarström)

Climate Change, Disasters and the Refugee Convention (CUP 2020)

Current Projects

Building Resilience to Pandemic Risk: A Human Rights-Based Approach in Multi-Level Governance Perspective

The project entails ground level empirical research focusing on local people’s experiences of municipal-level responses to Covid-19 in a multi-level governance framework, combined with the development of knowledge products designed to share insights and promote reflection and discussion within and between stakeholder groups. The research seeks to engage predominantly with individual residents and their representatives in civil society, together with local government actors, and will be designed in a manner that integrates constructively with existing network-based initiatives. Insights are expected to be relevant to actors at local, national, regional, and international levels.

This new initiative focusing on ground-level impacts of pandemic risk reduction, preparedness and response builds on insights derived in the pilot project conducted in 2020, and is intended as an early step in the development of a larger programme promoting building forward better with a human rights-based approach that integrates key elements from the post-2015 international frameworks, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the New Urban Agenda.

ClimMobil: Judicial and Policy Responses to Climate Change-Related Mobility in the European Union with a Focus on Austria and Sweden (2019-2022)

This project, supported by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund, and in collaboration with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights in Vienna, examines Swedish and Austrian judicial decisions in cases where disasters and other adverse impacts of climate change feature as part of the claim. The project sets out to improve understanding of judicial responses to claims for international protection in this context and to make recommendations that are relevant for domestic as well as wider European and international audiences, including policymakers.

Building Resilience through Inclusive and Climate Adaptive Disaster Risk Reduction (2018-2022)

This project, supported by the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), is collaborative initiative between the Asia Disaster Preparedness Center, the Stockholm Environment Institute, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, that promotes and supports the identification and development of rights-based and gender equal approaches to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation across Asia and the Pacific.

 

Completed projects

The Future of Human Rights (2020-2021)

This project, supported by the Pufendorf Institute at Lund University, brings together academics from a range of disciplines including law, disaster risk management, philosophy, sociology, and human geography to explore the future of human rights by exchanging perspectives on the origins and purpose of the concept and sharing insights across intersecting themes including migration, authoritarianism, and economic globalisation. These themes are framed against a backdrop of global social and ecological processes under umbrella concepts of digitalization and the Anthropocene. The project is designed to generate ideas and identify interconnections through multi-disciplinary collaboration.

Climate Change, Disasters and Internal Displacement in Asia and the Pacific: A Human Rights-Based Approach (2017-2020)

This project, supported by the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), brought together researchers from ten countries across Asia and the Pacific to examine the relationship between international and national-level law and policy relating to displacement in the context of disasters and climate change, and the protection of people from and during displacement and the facilitation of durable solutions. Adopting a human rights-based approach, the research consolidated key international standards and guidelines relating to displacement in the context of disasters and climate change and developed a tool for systematically analysing national legal and policy frameworks. This desk research was complemented by field research that examined one particular instance of disaster displacement, identifying promising practices as well as challenges to the implementation of national and international standards. Key findings are contained in a series of national law and policy reports, submissions to international initiatives including the UN High Level Panel on Internal Displacement and the 2020 UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally-displaced persons consultation on displacement in the context slower onset adverse impacts of climate change, and academic publications including and edited volume and a contribution to the special edition on internal displacement published in the journal Refugee Survey Quarterly. More information about the project is available at https://rwi.lu.se/disaster-displacement.

This research has provided a foundation for the collaborative development of practical, blended learning modules promoting human rights-based and gender equal approaches to addressing displacement risk.

Human rights and the Environment Staff


Matthew Scott

Matthew Scott

Head of Thematic Area Human Rights and the Environment

E-mail: matthew.scott@rwi.lu.se

Matthew Scott is head of the Human Rights and the Environment thematic area at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Lund, Sweden.

His work focuses on integrating social science perspectives with international legal standards to promote context-sensitive, human rights-based law, policy and practice relating to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. His primary area of expertise concerns migration and displacement in the context of disasters and climate change, on which he has published a monograph entitled Climate Change, Disasters and the Refugee Convention (CUP 2020), an edited volume entitled Climate Change, Disasters and Internal Displacement in Asia and the Pacific: A Human Rights-Based Approach (Routledge 2021), and a range of book chapters and academic articles in, amongst others, the International Journal of Refugee Law, the Nordic Journal of International Law and the Yearbook of International Disaster Law. The edited volume was a major output of a regional thematic study he coordinated as part of RWI’s Asia-Pacific programme on human rights and sustainable development. Current research interests concern the role of local authorities in addressing climate- and disaster-related migration and displacement, and how human rights law can contribute to building resilience to pandemic risk.

Matthew holds a PhD in Public International Law from Lund University (2018) and a MA in Social Anthropology of Development from SOAS (1998). He practiced immigration and asylum law before entering academia. He is a member of the advisory committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement, a member of the editorial board of the Yearbook of International Disaster Law, and a founding member of the Nordic Network on Climate Related Displacement and Mobility.

At Lund University, he convenes the LLM course on human rights law, the environment and climate change, and lectures on international refugee law and international human rights law at the Faculty of Law. He also lectures on the MSc programme in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation at the Department of Risk Management and Societal Safety.

Matthew is also actively engaged in international collaboration initiatives and is currently contributing technical expertise on human rights-based approaches to disaster risk reduction across eight countries in Asia in collaboration with the Asia Disaster Preparedness Center, Stockholm Environment Institute and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency.

Read more about Matthew’s work here.

Selected publications

Nordic Norms, Natural Disasters, and International Protection: Swedish and Finnish Practice in European Perspective (Nordic Journal of International Law, 2022, with Russell Garner)

Climate Change, Disasters and Internal Displacement in Asia and the Pacific: A Human Rights-Based Approach (Routledge 2021)

Pandemic Preparedness and Response: National COVID-19 Law and Policy in Human Rights Perspective (RWI 2021, with Elina Hammarström)

Climate Change, Disasters and the Refugee Convention (CUP 2020)

Current Projects

Building Resilience to Pandemic Risk: A Human Rights-Based Approach in Multi-Level Governance Perspective

The project entails ground level empirical research focusing on local people’s experiences of municipal-level responses to Covid-19 in a multi-level governance framework, combined with the development of knowledge products designed to share insights and promote reflection and discussion within and between stakeholder groups. The research seeks to engage predominantly with individual residents and their representatives in civil society, together with local government actors, and will be designed in a manner that integrates constructively with existing network-based initiatives. Insights are expected to be relevant to actors at local, national, regional, and international levels.

This new initiative focusing on ground-level impacts of pandemic risk reduction, preparedness and response builds on insights derived in the pilot project conducted in 2020, and is intended as an early step in the development of a larger programme promoting building forward better with a human rights-based approach that integrates key elements from the post-2015 international frameworks, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the New Urban Agenda.

ClimMobil: Judicial and Policy Responses to Climate Change-Related Mobility in the European Union with a Focus on Austria and Sweden (2019-2022)

This project, supported by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund, and in collaboration with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights in Vienna, examines Swedish and Austrian judicial decisions in cases where disasters and other adverse impacts of climate change feature as part of the claim. The project sets out to improve understanding of judicial responses to claims for international protection in this context and to make recommendations that are relevant for domestic as well as wider European and international audiences, including policymakers.

Building Resilience through Inclusive and Climate Adaptive Disaster Risk Reduction (2018-2022)

This project, supported by the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), is collaborative initiative between the Asia Disaster Preparedness Center, the Stockholm Environment Institute, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, that promotes and supports the identification and development of rights-based and gender equal approaches to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation across Asia and the Pacific.

 

Completed projects

The Future of Human Rights (2020-2021)

This project, supported by the Pufendorf Institute at Lund University, brings together academics from a range of disciplines including law, disaster risk management, philosophy, sociology, and human geography to explore the future of human rights by exchanging perspectives on the origins and purpose of the concept and sharing insights across intersecting themes including migration, authoritarianism, and economic globalisation. These themes are framed against a backdrop of global social and ecological processes under umbrella concepts of digitalization and the Anthropocene. The project is designed to generate ideas and identify interconnections through multi-disciplinary collaboration.

Climate Change, Disasters and Internal Displacement in Asia and the Pacific: A Human Rights-Based Approach (2017-2020)

This project, supported by the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), brought together researchers from ten countries across Asia and the Pacific to examine the relationship between international and national-level law and policy relating to displacement in the context of disasters and climate change, and the protection of people from and during displacement and the facilitation of durable solutions. Adopting a human rights-based approach, the research consolidated key international standards and guidelines relating to displacement in the context of disasters and climate change and developed a tool for systematically analysing national legal and policy frameworks. This desk research was complemented by field research that examined one particular instance of disaster displacement, identifying promising practices as well as challenges to the implementation of national and international standards. Key findings are contained in a series of national law and policy reports, submissions to international initiatives including the UN High Level Panel on Internal Displacement and the 2020 UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally-displaced persons consultation on displacement in the context slower onset adverse impacts of climate change, and academic publications including and edited volume and a contribution to the special edition on internal displacement published in the journal Refugee Survey Quarterly. More information about the project is available at https://rwi.lu.se/disaster-displacement.

This research has provided a foundation for the collaborative development of practical, blended learning modules promoting human rights-based and gender equal approaches to addressing displacement risk.

Jason Squire

Jason Squire

Director of Regional Asia Office

E-mail: jason.squire@rwi.lu.se

Jason Squire worked in law enforcement and prosecution for 16 years before entering the humanitarian development world. He worked as a police officer in South Australia. Later, he uncovered mass graves as an investigator of crimes against humanity with the UN. He then moved into the children’s rights field throughout Asia, the Middle East, eastern Europe and north Africa.

Jason then stepped away from humanitarian work and completed a PhD with Universiti Sains Malaysia, focused on where human/child rights and the philosophy that guides Shariah law can be better integrated into Malaysian civil law responses to vulnerable children in custody. He has now joined the Raoul Wallenberg Institute as Director of the Regional Asia Office in Jakarta, Indonesia.

 

Wulan Tangkudung

Wulan Tangkudung

Senior Programme Associate

Phone: +62 21 719 0409
E-mail: wulan.tangkudung@rwi.lu.se

Wulan holds a bachelor degree in Mass Communication from Universitas Indonesia, a degree in German language from the same University and a postgraduate diploma in Events Management from Switzerland. Wulan has previous work experience as Administrative and Finance department of the 6th ASEAN Para Games, Account and Promotion Executive in FEMINA group and as an Au-pair in Austria.

Lina Rachmawati

Lina Rachmawati

Programme Associate

E-mail: lina.rachmawati@rwi.lu.se

Lina has been working with RWI since December 2017. She  has ten years of experience in various international development projects as an administrator. She performs administrative functions concerned with RWI’s projects.

Sri Aryani

Sri Aryani

Programme Officer People on the Move

Cell phone: +62 8551100501
E-mail: sri.aryani@rwi.lu.se

Sri Aryani has over 15 years of experience in managing programs, particularly in the areas of labour migration, access to justice, and civil society empowerment. Prior to joining RWI, she worked for UNDP Indonesia, facilitating engagement with the private sector and other stakeholders. She also has experience in conducting research and providing assistance for CSOs in collaboration with various organizations, including the Open Society Foundation, OXFAM, UN Women, and ILO. She holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from University of Indonesia, focusing on gender and migration.

Yudha Pratama

Yudha Pratama

Communication Officer of Regional Asia Office

E-mail: yudha.pratama@rwi.lu.se

Yudha is a Communication Officer at RWI Jakarta office, who manages the media and communication for RWI Jakarta. He joined the RWI in 2020 and he has experience in managing media and communication for 10 years.

Before joining the RWI, Yudha is a former journalist at Indonesia state-owned news agency ANTARA. He also joined the UN FAO as Communication Specialist and working closely with farmers from the East Nusa Tenggara province in Indonesia and Timor Leste on the issue of conservation agriculture. Later, he worked as Communication Officer for UNDP and has managed the reports, media campaign, and publications for the National Parks and Protected Areas conservation in Sulawesi island of Indonesia.

Yudha holds Master Global Media Communication from The University of Melbourne, Australia. He finished his Bachelor`s degree in Sociology at University of Indonesia.

Windi Arini

Windi Arini

Programme Officer Inclusive Societies

E-mail: windi.arini@rwi.lu.se

Windi Arini is a Programme Officer at RWI’s Jakarta Office and works within the Inclusive Societies focus area.

Windi holds a Master of Philosophy in Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Oslo. Prior to joining RWI, se worked as a Human Rights Officer at the ASEAN Secretariat and as a Programme Manager for a law office.

Dina Kusumaningsih

Dina Kusumaningsih

MEAL Officer of Regional Asia Pacific Programme

E-mail: dina.kusumaningsih@rwi.lu.se

Dina holds a Master’s degree in Population and Labour Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from University of Indonesia. Both of her undergraduate and graduate thesis were related to women migrant workers and economic violence from a gender perspective.

She is currently working at RWI Jakarta office as a MEAL officer for Regional Asia Pacific Programme. Prior to RWI, her most recent position was country MEAL officer in Oxfam Indonesia. She is therefore experienced in working with projects related to gender and women empowerment.

Victor Bernard

Victor Bernard

Programme Officer

Phone: +855 (0) 96 789 5379
E-mail: victor.bernard@rwi.lu.se

Victor Bernard is the Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s (RWI) programme officer specialised in the interlinkages between human rights and the environment. In this capacity, he leads many of RWI’s research and capacity development initiatives in Asia and the Pacific to strengthen knowledge bases on human rights, gender equality and the environment. In addition, he oversees technical support on integrating a rights-based approach into environmental programmes in collaboration with the Stockholm Environment Institute.

During his tenure at RWI, Bernard undertook a number of assignments, including the thematic study examining the extent to which countries in Asia and the Pacific incorporated international standards and guidelines on displacement into national law and policy frameworks relating to climate change and disaster risk management to address the phenomenon. Most recently, he served as a co-editor of the RWI’s 2020 report Prosperous and green in the Anthropocene: The human right to a healthy environment in Southeast Asia.

Prior to joining RWI, Bernard worked as the Programme Officer at Sida’s humanitarian unit managing projects in South Sudan and assisting in incorporating protection principles and promoting meaningful access, safety and dignity in Sida’s humanitarian aid. Bernard’s experience also includes work with the EU Delegation in Thailand and The Asia Foundation on issues related to human rights, governance, conflict and development in Asia.

Victor Bernard holds an LL.M in International Law from the University of Edinburgh, a postgraduate degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of St Andrews, and a bachelor’s degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of York.

Radu Mares

Radu Mares

Acting Research Director, Associate Professor, Head of Economic Globalisation and Human Rights Thematic Area

Phone: + 46 46 222 12 43
E-mail: radu.mares@rwi.lu.se

Radu Mares is senior researcher at Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights. He has Doctor of Law (2006) and Associate Professor (Reader/Docent) (2012) degrees from the Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden.

He is specialised in the area of business and human rights, with a focus on multinational enterprises and global supply chains. His work combines transnational law, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility perspectives.

Mares has edited The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – Foundations and Implementation (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2012) and authored The Dynamics of Corporate Social Responsibilities (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2008). He has written about the relation between law and self-regulation, on corporate responsibilities in the mining industry and supply chain contexts, and on regulatory aspects raised by the corporate ‘responsibility to respect’ human rights. Recent publications include ‘De-centring human rights from the international order of states The alignment and interaction of transnational policy channels’ (Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 2016) and ‘“Respect” human rights: Concept and convergence’ (Law, Business and Human Rights – Bridging the Gap, Bird, Cahoy, Prenkert (eds.), 2014).

Keywords: Corporate social responsibility (CSR), supply chain management, multistakeholder partnerships, transnational law, international economic law, regulatory theory, good governance.

Selected Publications

Claudia Ituarte-Lima

Claudia Ituarte-Lima

Senior Researcher

Cell phone: +1(778) 917-99942
E-mail: claudia.ituarte-lima@rwi.lu.se

Dr. Claudia Ituarte-Lima is an international public lawyer and scholar.  For more than 15 years, she has specialized in the human rights, biodiversity and climate law nexus both in theory and practice. Ituarte-Lima holds a PhD (University College London), MPhil (University of Cambridge), and a Law Degree (U. Iberoamericana). She is an affiliated senior researcher at the RWI, researcher on international environmental law at Stockholm Resilience Centre and research associate at University of British Columbia.

Ituarte-Lima´s focus is on law and governance for sustainability and environmental justice and the transformation of international law into new governance forms at the national scales that support endogenous development and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Her methodology ranges from extensive on-the ground fieldwork for example in Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Kenya and Senegal, to studies examining regional frameworks such as the European Timber Regulation and the interactions of international regimes on human rights and environmental law.

Her collaborative research on the right to a healthy environment involve various partners including South East Asian scholars. Her role at RWI entails mentoring researchers, lecturing and facilitating dialogue process with judges, human rights commissions and other groups on environment, climate change, human rights, and gender equality in Asia and the Pacific.

Claudia has a wide range of publications, such as articles in international peer-reviewed academic journals, book chapters, and reports in the law, policy and practice interface targeting a wide audience. She acts as an expert advisor for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment and was a member of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) expert group in policy support tools and methodologies.

She has held visiting status at various academic institutions, including the Environmental Change Institute at University of Oxford in the UK, the Global Centre of Excellence Programme in Conflict Studies at Osaka University in Japan, ECOSUR in Mexico and the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Ecuador.

Malin Oud

Malin Oud

Head of Stockholm Office, Director of China Programme, Head of Economic Globalisation and Human Rights Thematic Area

Phone: +46 (0)70 360 8702
E-mail: malin.oud@rwi.lu.se

Malin Oud is Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s Stockholm Office, and also heads the Institute’s China Programme as well as its thematic work on Economic Globalisation and Human Rights. Malin has more than 20 years’ experience in the field of human rights and sustainable development, and has worked as a programme manager and advisor with international organisations, government agencies, multinational corporations, as well as non-governmental organisations. 

Malin is a Member of the Advisory Boards of the Berlin-based think-tank Mercator Institute for China Studies and the Hong Kong-based NGO China Labour Bulletin, and an Advisor to the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights. In 2011-2016, Malin founded and managed the consultancy Tracktwo. Prior to that, she managed initiatives for democracy and freedom of expression at the Swedish International Development Agency. From 2001 to 2009, she was based in Beijing as the Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s China office director. She studied Chinese language, Chinese law and international human rights law in Lund, Kunming, and London, and has an MA in International Development from Melbourne University. Malin is a regular public speaker, moderator, and expert commentator in Swedish media.

Malin Oud CV

Malin on LinkedIn

Recent publications

Sample media interviews

Sample speaking engagements

Keywords: Business and human rights, human rights and the environment, human rights and development, China

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