The 13th Informal Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) Seminar was held in Copenhagen on 21-23 October 2013 with a thematic focus on Human Rights and the Environment. Established in 1998, the Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights regularly brings together government officials, academics, and civil society representatives from ASEM member countries for dialogues on ASEM priorities. The 13th Seminar was organised by ASEF, the Danish Institute for Human Rights, and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The 13th Seminar linked human rights issues to the environment and climate change debate for the first time within the ASEM framework, with the intention of promoting inter-regional dialogue and cooperation on strengthening human rights in relation to environment protection. It brought together over 135 participants, including official government representatives and civil society experts, representing 48 of the 51 ASEM partners, to discuss the challenges presented by environmental degradation to the promotion and protection of human rights. Discussions took place in four working groups, each focusing on a topic area: the interaction between sustainable development, environment and human rights; access to information, participatory rights and access to justice; actors, institutions and governance; and climate change and human rights implications. One of the objectives of the seminar was to provide an opportunity for participants to gain a greater appreciation and deeper understanding of the differences as well as the similarities between the two regions of Asia and Europe in human rights law and environmental law.
A seminar report was published that summarised the discussions in the four working groups and presented a series of key messages. A key message included that “States should adopt a human-rights-based approach to environmental protection as part of their national environmental regulatory framework.”
Further Information: Information about the Seminar and the final report can be found at: http://www.asef.org/index.php/projects/themes/governance/2938-13th-informal-asem-seminar-on-human-rights-human-rights-and-the-environment.