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Shifting Perspectives: Applying a Human Rights Lens to City Management to Effectively and Justly Address Climate Change

2 speakers

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Climate change is having a major impact on a wide range of human rights today& and could have a cataclysmic impact in the future unless ambitious actions are undertaken immediately.” (UNEP& 2019: This workshop will explore the importance of confronting climate change-related challenges in cities in an integral way by applying a human rights approach in urban management. The hosts will share an innovative methodological proposal resulting from 2.5 years of research that involved interviewing 100+ stakeholders (city practitioners& policy makers& civil society& etc.) and analyzing the Ecuadorian legal framework (specifically the mandate of city governments). The results of this research were developed in the context of an interinstitutional agreement between GIZ Ecuador and the Ombudsman's Office and published in the “Conceptualization of the Human Rights Approach in Urban Management” ( This proposal introduces 5 guiding concepts (Intersectionality; Integrality and Interdependence; Progressivity and Non-Regressivity; Informed and Responsible Participation; and Transparency and Accountability) and 14 rights that respond to diverse dimensions and dynamics of complex urban realities. These aspects serve as a starting point& so that together with the participants& we can analyze how daily decisions of city governments guarantee or violate rights when responding to different scenarios stemming from climate change. During the workshop& we will build upon this conceptual proposal from Ecuador by applying an engaging& participatory methodology that elicits the experiences of participants from different urban contexts around the world. We will begin by exploring the guiding concepts and carrying out a practical exercise that will allow participants to differentiate between urban management with and without a rights approach. Next& we will guide a reflection related to urban complexity and how decisions made in the context of climate change can directly and indirectly impact the 14 rights of the urban context. Finally& we will analyze the need to implement urban policies and decisions that guarantee both equity and justice. In summary& this workshop will promote more comprehensive and systemic responses to the multiple uncertainties resulting from climate change in urban areas& and will have distinct effects on different groups of city inhabitants& exacerbating inequality and violating rights.