2-6 July 2018
Application start 14 January 2018
Application end 24 June 2018
Application end / With visa 21 May 2018
Fee: 1530 Swiss Francs


Flyer >

The Protection of Human Rights and the Environment

Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Lower Dir disctrict, Kamala village. Those farmers lucky enough to have Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Lower Dir disctrict, Kamala village. Those farmers lucky enough to have

Addressing One of the Most Pressing Issues in Contemporary International Law

Can we promote environmental protection through existing human rights (HR) mechanisms? What protection does international law afford to ‘climate refugees’? What are the synergies and tensions between the legal protection of HR and the environment?

From the contamination of water bodies to the effects of climate change, the relationship between the protection of HR and environmental conservation is one of the most pressing issues in contemporary international law.

This training course provides participants with a deep understanding of the international legal framework for the protection of HR and the environment as well as in-depth knowledge of how to promote environmental protection through existing HR mechanisms.


The training course covers the following issues:

  • The main international HR and environmental law instruments and mechanisms
  • The nature of state obligations under the two legal regimes – international HR law and environmental law – as well as the entitlements and responsibilities of individuals, groups and other private actors
  • Rights to information and participation in environment-related decision-making and the right to remedy in the case of environmental nuisance
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • The rights of indigenous peoples and traditional local communities; the concept of environmental refugees; gender-related rights; the protection of the HR of environmental defenders
  • The HR dimension of environmental protection in land and water management, biodiversity, climate change and UNESCO nominated natural sites
  • The use of international HR mechanisms to litigate and advocate for environmental protection
  • Synergies and tensions in the promotion of HR and the protection of the environment
  • A visit to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council to attend the presentation of the annual report of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment


At the end of this course, participants will be:

  • Familiar with the major international legal instruments for the promotion of HR and the conservation of the environment (e.g. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Convention on Biological Diversity and Protocols, Aarhus Convention, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNESCO World Heritage Convention)
  • Knowledgeable about the different UN mechanisms mandated to protect and promote human rights and the conservation of the environment, and how the agendas of the specialized agencies intersect
  • Conversant with the role of civil society, national and international environmental and HR institutions, governments and non-state actors in relation to the protection of human rights and the environment
  • Able to identify and effectively describe synergies and tensions in the realization of HR and the protection of the environment, to re-think their advocacy plans and devise new strategies for making better use of the UN HR mechanisms


Lecturers include Geneva Academy experts, renowned academic scholars, as well as senior professionals from international organizations and NGOs.


The course is interactive and participants are encouraged to share their own experiences and visions on the subject. The training sessions include lectures and expert panels, as well as practical examples and case studies. Sessions are designed to enhance knowledge exchange with peers and facilitators.


This training course is designed for staff of NGOs, national environmental and HR institutions, UN bodies and other international organizations, as well as representatives of governments and members of academia.


Participants who successfully complete the training course receive a certificate of participation from the Geneva Academy


The training fee for this five-day programme is 1,530 Swiss Francs (30 percent discount for PhD and master students).

The fee includes tuition costs, course materials, lunch and refreshments during coffee breaks.

The fee is payable as soon as your place has been confirmed.

Places on the training course are limited. Please note that participation can only be secured through the payment of the fee.

All participants are responsible for their own travel costs to Geneva, including Swiss visa fees and evening meals (approximately 30 Swiss Francs per meal).


Participants can request on-campus accommodation via the online application form. Due to the limited places available, accommodation is not guaranteed. Participants seeking on-campus accommodation are encouraged to request it as soon as possible.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted via the online application form.

If you encounter problems with your application, do not hesitate to contact us.

Practical Information

Venue: Villa Moynier, 120B Rue de Lausanne, Geneva

Duration: Monday 2 July February - Friday 6 July 2018, 9:00 –17:30

Language of instruction: English

If you have any questions, please email hrsandenvironment[at]

Professor and Lecturer

Picture of Adriana Bessa

Adriana Bessa

Research Fellow

Adriana Bessa's research areas include the rights of traditional local communities, the draft declaration on the rights of peasants and the right to food.


Villa Moynier 120B Rue de Lausanne Geneva


Public Transport

Tram 15, Direction Nations - tram stop Butini

Bus 1 or 25, Direction Jardin Botanique - bus stop Sécheron

Access for people with disabilities

Villa Moynier is accessible to people with disabilities. If you have a disability or any additional needs and require assistance in order to participate fully, please email


Democratic Republic of the Congo: North Kivu, Rutshuru Territory. Seeds multiplication field (peanuts). The ICRC supports local farmer associations. News

Peasants’ Right to Seeds and Intellectual Property Rights

9 March 2017

Our new Research Brief The Right to Seeds and Intellectual Property Rights summarizes key findings linked to the recognition of peasants’ right to seeds in the context of the current negotiation of a UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas at the UN Human Rights Council.

Read more

Philippines, Mindanoa Island, Datu Odin Sinsuat Municipality. Rice fields. Many displaced persons work as daily labourers in rice fields or in coconut plantation to earn some money. News

Expert Seminar on the Right to Food Sovereignty and Other Collective Rights of Peasants

29 September 2017

Next Friday, at the Palais des Nations, more than 60 participants – academics, experts, states’ representatives and representatives of non-governmental organizations and social movements – will gather to discuss the right to food sovereignty and other collective rights in the context of the current negotiation of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

Read more

Somalia, Anjaraale village, 15 km outside Baidoa. A man, beneficiary of the ICRC cash grants programme, plants sorghum that is a popular crop amongst farmers and the staple food in most homes in Anjaraale village. Event


27 March 2018, 18:30-20:00

Panelists will share good practices and challenges in supporting the use of the Voluntary Guidelines on the right to food at national and global levels.

Read more

Syria, Aleppo. The build-up of waste is a serious health risk Training

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals

17-21 September 2018

This training course explores the relationship between economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and provides participants with practical tools to include ESCR and the SDGs in their work.

Read more

Young boy in a slum Training

Formation en ligne sur les Droits Economiques, Sociaux et Culturels

1 October - 18 November 2018

Cette formation en ligne permet d’acquérir une connaissance approfondie des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels (DESC), des obligations des états et des mécanismes chargés de les protéger et de surveiller leur mise en œuvre.

Read more

Roundtable discussion during the Regional Consultation for North America and the English Speaking Caribbean on the Future of the UN Treaty Body System Project

Academic Platform on Treaty Body Review 2020

Started in May 2016

The Geneva Academy is coordinating the academic input to the 2020 review of UN treaty bodies by the UN General Assembly via the creation of an academic network of independent researchers, a call for papers, a series of regional consultations, annual conferences in Geneva, as well as ongoing interactions with key stakeholders.

Read more

Panel Discussion: Project

Treaty Body Members’ Platform

Started in July 2014

The Treaty Body Members’ Platform connects experts in UN treaty bodies with each other as well as with Geneva-based practitioners, academics and diplomats to share expertise, exchange views on topical questions and develop synergies.

Read more