A human rights impact assessment of a resettlement measure was conducted as part the ClimAccount research project.1 The assessment looked specifically at the extraterritorial human rights obligations of the European Union in relation to its climate policies. The case in point was the resettlement of four Maasai communities due to the construction of a geothermal power plant, Olkaria IV, one of a number of large-scale renewable energy projects in Kenya. Olkaria IV was financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) amongst others. The subsequent resettlement was investigated by the EIB's institutional complaint mechanism and the World Bank's Inspection Panel. The alleged human rights violations, which can partly be attributed to due diligence failures of the EIB and the other co-financiers, are analysed. The analysis includes a discussion of the delegation of due diligence obligations between the co-financers and whether this was in accordance with human rights law. Finally, the article explores the legal basis for holding the EIB and its shareholders, the EU and its member states, accountable. Strategies to improve EIB's human rights performance are proposed.
Climate, justice and displacement: reflections on law, policy and the future of human rights in the climate crisis
Edited by Jeanette Schade and Dimitra Manou
Wolfgang Obergassel, Lauri Peterson, Florian Mersmann, Jeanette Schade, Jane Alice Hofbauer and Monika Mayrhofer
This article analyses the human rights implications of projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). While the CDM is likely to expire in the near future, the experience gained should be used to inform the rules of the new mechanism to be established under the 2015 Paris Agreement. We argue that the CDM and the new mechanism, as international organizations under the guidance of UNFCCC member states, should apply the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Based on the experience drawn from three case studies (two hydro power projects in Barro Blanco, Panama, and Bujagali, Uganda, and one geothermal energy project in Olkaria, Kenya), we show that CDM projects, while in formal compliance with CDM rules, can lead to a number of human rights infringements. We conclude with a number of recommendations on how to achieve a greater recognition of human rights in the new mechanism under the Paris Agreement.