Published: July 12, 2022
Right Here Right Now Global Climate Summit

Leading Indigenous voices on climate change and human rights. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment. The vice chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); and the 2020 TIME Magazine Kid of the Year. 

These are among the 33 panelists who have confirmed their participation in the inaugural Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Summit to be based on the University of Colorado Boulder campus December 1-4, 2022. 

Other high profile participants include keynote speakers Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and well-known climate justice advocate, and Sheila Watt-Cloutier, indigenous rights leader and Nobel Prize nominee. 

The summit is designed to engage human rights, scientific, political, educational, cultural and industry leaders to commit to specific goals that will help to slow climate change and address its adverse effects on human rights. 

“We are thrilled to be able to bring together phenomenal thought leaders and experts from a variety of global sectors for the first Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Summit,” Chancellor Philip DiStefano said. “We are eager to hear from so many esteemed, diverse voices as we discuss and commit to solutions that will address the ravaging effects of climate change on vulnerable populations around the world.”

In partnership with UN Human Rights, CU Boulder is co-hosting the event as part of its comprehensive public research mission and global leadership in research related to the environment, behavioral sciences and issues related to human rights.

The first full day of the summit will focus on impacts of climate change. For instance, “Climate Change as a Matter of Human Rights,” will explore the effects of climate change on the rights to life, health, culture, self-determination, development, food, water and sanitation, housing and a healthy environment. Panelists will also discuss the features of a human rights-based approach to climate action. 

The second day will focus on human rights obligations and responsibilities related to climate change. David Boyd, UN special rapporteur on human rights and environment, will be on a panel about the obligations of governments arising from the human rights impacts of climate change. Business will also emerge as a focal point on the second day with the panel “The Climate Change Responsibilities of Business and Industry.” 

Panelists are also shaping up for a session on the role of education in building a global culture of knowledge and inquiry about climate change, its human rights impacts and solutions. A featured panelist is Gitanjali Rao, youth science prodigy and TIME Magazine Kid of the Year.

The final day’s focus on solutions features a panel on adaptation, mitigation and disaster response and addresses the question: How should governments address the impacts of climate change on those most vulnerable? Roberto Sánchez-Rodríguez, vice chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is on a panel about how governments should address the impact of climate change for the most vulnerable. 

A panel on youth and climate justice will explore how global society, including governments, should factor in the human rights of future generations in developing solutions to climate change, especially from the perspective of youth. 

The final summit panel focuses on traditional knowledge and climate solutions. 

Over centuries, indigenous peoples and others have developed a wealth of knowledge related to the natural environments where they live. Under international human rights law, indigenous peoples have specific rights related to their traditional knowledge. This panel will explore how this knowledge can be brought to bear, along with Western science and technological approaches, in developing sustainable and widely deployable solutions to climate change. 

Additional panels and panelists will be announced as they are confirmed.