The Human Right to Climate Adaptation

Autumn Bordner, Jon Barnett, Elissa Waters
Posted on: 12/21/2023 - Updated on: 12/21/2023

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We demonstrate that a right to climate change adaptation exists in a bundle of pre-existing human rights norms. This existing right provides clear principles to guide the implementation of climate adaptation in ways that are equitable and effective, obliging States to, inter alia, prioritise those whose rights are most at risk from climate change; maximise the adaptive capacity of individuals; preserve territory to protect the sovereign rights of peoples; and ensure that adaptation practices themselves do not harm human rights. Human rights law requires that these obligations be fulfilled without discrimination on any grounds, including economic judgements about the cost effectiveness of adaptation in small or remote countries or communities.


Bordner, A., Barnett, J., Waters, E. (2023). The human right to climate adaptation. npj Climate Action, 2: 43.


Document Type
Adaptation Phase
Target Climate Changes and Impacts

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