The Road from Paris to Sustainable Development - Effectively Integrating Human Rights and Gender Equality into Climate Actions of EU Institutions

As one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time, climate change has a significant effect on the full enjoyment of human rights, such as the right to safe and adequate water and food, the right to health and adequate housing and the right to life, with women being particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts.

The EU claims leadership on the global fight against climate change as well as on the international protection of human rights and strives for better policy coherence in its domestic and external policy agenda.

The report begins with a brief analysis of the current state of integration of human rights and gender equality into climate policies at the international level (section 2). The overview of the international framework sets the stage for an EU-focused analysis and will provide a benchmark against which current EU policies and processes will be assessed. Section 3 considers more specifically the legal and policy frameworks adopted at EU level to promote the integration of human rights and gender equality that applies to climate actions. The section reviews in particular EU commitments to promote human rights and gender equality externally, as well as assessing how EU decision-making procedures promote the coherence of different policies adopted by the EU institutions. Section 4 offers practical illustrations of four of the five key roles played by the EU and previously identified as having particular implications for the promotion of human rights and gender equality in the context of climate change (the EU as an international negotiating actor, as a consumer of international goods, as a participant to international carbon markets and as an international donor). Building on this analytical framework, a research blueprint for the analysis of case studies is proposed in section 5. This blueprint is designed specifically to review the responsibility of the EU and its institutions with regard to the integration of human rights and gender considerations into climate policies.

Finally, the report concludes with specific policy recommendations targeted at the EU institutions and the Member States to promote the integration of human rights and gender considerations into climate policies (section 6). These policy recommendations draw upon the previous sections of the report and highlight opportunities to strengthen policy coherence in EU climate policies and address specific challenges identified in relations to the four major roles.

The general interim report will be followed-up with three in-depth country case studies to assess to what extent the EU has incorporated the human rights and gender dimensions in its external climate actions, as well as provide policy recommendations to EU policy-makers on how to promote a human rights-based and gender-responsive approach in its external climate policies.


Product details
Date of Publication
March 2017
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union
Number of Pages
Language of publication