COP 25 Decision On Markets More Important Than Human Rights

For Immediate Release
06 December 2019
COP 25, Madrid, Spain

After the first week of climate negotiations at COP 25, it becomes clear that governments are willing to compromise Human Rights to adopt rules on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement that will endanger human rights and harm the environment in the name of climate action. 

A key issue is Article 6 of the Paris Convention, which deals with the transfer of emission reductions between countries and private actors and whose detailed rules are to be finalized this year.

“Under this article, there will be also a project-based mechanism that would finance climate projects through the sale of emission certificates. This so-called Sustainable Development Mechanism will be the successor to the Clean Development Mechanism, which has already been criticized many times for violating indigenous peoples’ rights,” said Patricia Bohland, from LIFE, Germany, who has followed the negotiations about Article 6 from the beginning.

While preventing by all means that reduced emissions can be used for achieving climate targets in two countries part of the deal, during the arrival of the ministers this week it has become clear that a compromise would be to give up on the protection of human rights in favor of a decision on Article 6. “We need high level support from countries that have shown support for human rights and safeguards being reflected in the text, including Mexico, Canada, Tuvalu, New Zealand, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Norway, and the European Union,” added Erika Lennon, Center for International Environmental Law, USA.

In the meantime, climate activists from Chile who are campaigning against the Alto Maipo Project, a hydroelectric project near Santiago have arrived at COP 25. “This project endangers the supply of drinking water and food production for the metropolitan area of Santiago,” said Chilean activist Marcela Mella. She added, “We have lived the devastating impacts of carbon markets in Chile. Because they currently lack social and environmental safeguards, they are causing environmental destruction and human rights violations. As Article 6 rewrites these rules, it must substantively protect human rights and environmental integrity. Anything less would condemn other communities to suffer harmful impacts similar to those that we have endured as a result of the Clean Development Mechanism-registered Alto-Maipo hydroelectric project.”

The project was financed among others by the German development bank KfW. The construction work was carried out by an international consortium including German HOCHTIEF A.G., Italian C.M.C. Di Ravenna and the Chilean subsidiary of Austrian Strabag AG. CDM certificates can be sold under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

The Women and Gender Constituency strongly opposes the discourse of market mechanisms being a solution to the climate crisis. An immediate reduction of greenhouse gases at their source and in industrialized countries is needed urgently since emission markets have not proven an equitable and effective climate measure in the past 20 years. Women and gender groups reiterate that the governments do not have time left to continue promoting them as a solution, especially not if they do not make the urgently needed contribution to increasing ambition and protecting human rights and introducing social and environmental safeguards.



Issue Brief on Article 6:


Neha Gupta | Email: | Phone: +34 634 713 352 (Mobile) | Phone: +66 955 282 396 (Whatsapp) | Languages: English, Hindi

Hanna Gunnarsson | | Phone: +49 152 040 585 73 | Languages: English, Swedish