Environmental sustainability, climate change and the green economy


The link between climate change, economical scarcity and poverty is straightforward. The world’s poor are especially prone to natural disasters given the fact that in many cases their livelihoods are directly dependent on natural resources. Moving towards a green economy is expected to improve the living conditions of the poor in the long run. By securing livelihoods and promoting sustainable jobs, the green economy can eradicate poverty and reduce vulnerability across a range of sectors (eg. fishery, agriculture, forestry).

Social protection can enhance resilience of people and protect them from the negative impacts of climate change and can facilitate transitions to more sustainable economies.


Photo credit: “Sustainability” by Kyle MacKenzie (CCBY 2.0 via Flickr).

Expert Commentaries

Why Human Rights-Based Social Protection is Needed in Climate Change Responses: A Just Transition

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent report, Global Warming of 1.5°C, is a powerful reminder of the need for rapid climate action a transition towards low-carbon development to prevent catastrophic climate change. As each new assessment of climate change’s impacts and risks reveals more alarming information than the last, opposition to rigorous climate policies […]

Legal Instruments

Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation and Decision Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters  was adopted on 25 June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus (Århus) at the Fourth Ministerial Conference as part of the “Environment for Europe” process. It entered into force on 30 October […]


Building Shock-Responsive National Social Protection Systems in the Middle East and North Africa Region

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is confronted by significant challenges resulting from multiple shocks and complex emergencies: countries in the region face various risks in terms of natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods and drought; violent conflicts, such as in Syria, pose unprecedented challenges related to the scale of human displacement; and the […]

Mapping Just Transition(s) to a Low-Carbon World

Just Transition—the idea that justice and equity must form an integral part of the transition towards a low-carbon world—is increasingly being mobilized both to counter the idea that protecting the environment and protecting jobs are incompatible, and to broaden the debate to justice-related issues such as the kinds of jobs and societies we envision for […]

Human Rights, Sustainable Development and Climate Policies: Connecting the Dots

This Toolbox aims to help civil society promote an integrated and coherent human rights-based approach to sustainable development, poverty eradication and environmental justice by: Highlighting the importance of rights-based monitoring of sustainable development/climate change policies and how violations of human rights can harm or hinder the implementation of SDGs and make people more vulnerable to […]

The role and vulnerabilities of older people in drought in East Africa Progress, challenges and opportunities for a more inclusive humanitarian response

Whilst older people have special needs, they also have unique skills, experiences and roles within their families, communities and societies. These roles continue to a certain extent during droughts, though household burdens may increase as younger adults have migrated or are grazing livestock further away. At the same time, droughts tend to increase older people’s vulnerabilities: […]

‘Leaving no one behind’ through enabling climate-resilient economic development in dryland regions

‘Leave no one behind’ is a principle central to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This policy briefing, based on five years’ research by the PRISE project, puts forward the view that governments, development partners and investors must prioritise investments to tackle poverty and climate vulnerability in dryland areas to ensure that no one […]

Energy, migration and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Key messages Migration can contribute to improving access to reliable, affordable modern energy services (SDG target 7.1) through higher incomes for migrants and the sending of remittances. The informal or irregular status of many migrants is a barrier to universal access to modern energy services. Migrants in informal settlements and displaced people often experience a […]

The Aarhus Convention: an implementation guide

The Aarhus Convention, which is open for global accession, offers powerful twin protections for the environment and human rights. It provides an effective model for ensuring public input in defining and implementing green economy programmes, in choosing the most appropriate road maps to sustainability and for increasing transparency and Government accountability, thereby putting Principle 10 […]

The Future of Work: A Literature Review

An enormous amount of literature has emerged over the last few years in the context of the “future of work”. Academics, think tanks and policy makers have fuelled rich discussions about how the future of work might look and how we can shape it. Indeed, labour markets in developing and developed countries are likely to […]

World Employment Social Outlook: Greening with Jobs (2018)

While climate change mitigation measures may cause short-term job losses, the report shows that a just transition to a more sustainable economy offers much potential for job creation and the promotion of decent work. The report also looks at key issues linked with the path to a greener economy, including macroeconomic and environmental policy, public […]

Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: from victims to change agents through decent work

The present report analyses the situation of indigenous peoples in the context of climate change. It suggests that indigenous peoples are affected in distinctive ways by climate change, and also by the policies or actions that are aimed at addressing it. At the same time, it highlights that, as agents of change, indigenous peoples are […]

Social Protection and Human Rights