Sabin Center and the UNFCCC

Michael Gerrard, working as a member of the Marshall Islands delegation at COP 21

Michael Gerrard, assisting the Marshall Islands                                         delegation at COP 21

As part of several ongoing projects, Sabin Center has sent representatives to many of the recent UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties. Our first-hand accounts of those negotiations are available below.

We also work with the Legal Response Initiative to provide assistance to least developed countries during the negotiations.


Reports from the COP negotiations

Appearances at COP Events and Side Events

  • Climate Law and Governance Day event (2016)
  • Roundtable on the Role of Climate Litigation in the Post-Paris World at COP22 Side Event (2016)
  • What role can NHRIs play in monitoring the implementation of sustainable development goals and commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change? November 6th 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco. Appearance by Michael Burger
  • Michael Gerrard talks in Paris (December 2015)
    • International Symposium on Ethics, Science, Law — Protecting Atmosphere and Biosphere, at Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle
    • Quest for Global Sustainability: Climate Change, Science and Law, sponsored by UNESCO and Global Justice Programme at Yale University 
    • Climate Change Related Disputes: A Role for International Arbitration and ADR, sponsored by Permanent Court of Arbitration and International Bar Association
    • Program on the Oslo Principles, held at UNESCO headquarters
    • What Exxon Knew, And What It Did Anyway, sponsored by Center for International Environmental law and Pawa Law Group

Human Rights and the UNFCCC

The Sabin Center engages with the UNFCCC secretariat and parties to ensure that human rights are adequately accounted for in international agreements and implementing actions.

  • We worked with UNEP to submit a report on Climate Change and Human Rights to the UNFCCC in advance of COP 21 in Paris.
  • More recently, we submitted a letter to the UNFCCC secretariat requesting that human rights safeguards be incorporated into the Sustainable Development Mechanism created under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.


Human Rights and Article 6 of the Paris Agreement: Ensuring Adequate Protection of Human Rights in the SDM and ITMO Frameworks, Romany Webb and Jessica Wentz (May 2018)


Designing a Climate Change Displacement Coordination Facility: Key Issues for COP 21, Jessica Wentz and Michael Burger (September 2015)

In the lead up to COP 21, there were several proposals to include provisions for the creation of a “climate change displacement coordination facility” in the Paris Agreement. This briefing note highlights some of the functions that the displacement coordination facility could fulfill, as well as some key questions for negotiators in the lead-up to COP 21 and subsequent talks. The note is not intended to be a proposal for how the facility should operate, nor do the functions highlighted below necessarily reflect what is politically or economically feasible. Rather, the note is intended to outline a broad array of considerations for decision-makers as they contemplate whether and how to proceed with the displacement coordination facility.