WEBINAR: Human Rights Strategies in Climate Change Litigation – A South Asian Perspective

On 2 July 2020, the GNHRE hosted the second of its webinar series, “Human Rights Strategies in Climate Change Litigation Across the Globe”. The second webinar focused on human rights and climate change litigation in South Asia.

You can watch the recording of the webinar here: Human Rights Strategies in Climate Change Litigation – South Asian Perspective

In this webinar, we brought together experts from around the region to discuss how human rights principles and actions are used (or not) to advance claims aimed at mitigating or adapting to climate change.

Despite being at the forefront of public interest litigation and environmental pollution cases, climate change litigation in South Asia is in its nascent stage. Surya Deva examined some of these early climate change cases and draw some general lessons. He considered factors which are likely to intensify climate change litigation in South Asia in future.

Sanjay Upadhyay asked whether human rights arguments are being adequately used in climate litigation and suggests that they are not. More often than not, intergenerational rights or compliance frameworks are being used for climate litigation. More empirical research on human rights approaches is required. Upadhyay also argued that work needs to be done on the issue of climate liability from a human rights perspective for more effective climate litigation.

On the other hand, Nepal provides one example of an integrated approach to climate change policy. Tara Prasad Sapkota focused on the policies, strategies, action plans and judicial decisions of the Supreme Court of Nepal. Nepal has several policy instruments to address the climate change issue. Together these instruments make-up the framework for strategies for climate change litigation.

About the Speakers:

Prof. Surya Deva

Surya Deva is an Associate Professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong, and a member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. Prof Deva’s primary research interests lie in Business and Human Rights, India-China Constitutional Law, and Sustainable Development. He is one of the founding Editors-in-Chief of the Business and Human Rights Journal, and sits on the Editorial/Advisory Board of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, the Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law, the Indian Law Review, and the Australian Journal of Human Rights. Prof Deva is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Constitutional Law (2018-22).

Mr. Sanjay Upadhyay

Sanjay Upadhyay is an advocate of the Supreme Court of India and the founder and managing partner of India’s first environmental law firm, Enviro Legal Defence. Sanjay has been practicing environmental and development law since 1993. He was a visiting fellow at the Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley (Fall 1996) and a legal intern to the Earth Justice Legal Defense Fund, San Francisco, a Global Fellow in Marine Policy at the Duke University, North Carolina. Sanjay has served as an environmental and development law expert to a number of international, multilateral, national and state institutions including the World Bank, ADB, IUCN, DFID, AFD,FAO, UNDP, IIED, ODI to name a few. He has served on drafting committees of several laws related to environmental laws.

Prof. Tara Prasad Sapkota

Tara Prasad Sapkota holds a Ph.D Degree in Environmental Law from Nagoya University, Japan, an LL.M Degree in International Law from Nagoya University, Japan, and Master’s Degree in Political Science from Tribhuvan University. He was also research fellow of Bergen University, Norway in 2013. Currently, he is a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nepal, Member of the IUCNWCEL and Member of IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, a member of the Access to Justice Commission of the Supreme Court of Nepal, a member of the Tribhuvan University Center Environmental Law (TUCEL), Faculty of Law, Nepal, coordinator of the Environmental Law Committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Nepal. He served as Dean of the Faculty of Law, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu from January 2014-December 2018.

The Webinar was moderated by Dr. Uday Shankar, Associate Professor, Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India.