Transitional Justice Insights for International Climate Policy

The Paris Agreement has provided momentum for global action.  However, the depth of action needed will require more cooperation than ever before. Disputes about justice have always been present within the climate negotiations.  They have not gone away, and could well impede attempts to build sufficient solidarity to achieve very demanding global targets for action, especially in the face of the irreversible economic and other losses for many countries expected to intensify in coming years.   As the implementation of Paris begins, now is the ideal time to develop strategies for managing justice in this arena.

Climate change is not the only time humans have been faced with historically rooted, future-oriented collective action challenges involving justice disputes.   Transitional justice is one set of tools that has been widely applied to conflicts at the interface of historical responsibility and imperatives for new collective futures.   ‘Transitional justice’ refers to theory and practice aimed at enabling purposeful transitions from periods of deep injustices into more peaceful regimes. These processes may be part of changing regimes, or can be used to legitimize or consolidate new relationships within existing regimes.

By reflecting on experiences with transitional justice, the Climate Strategies project, “Evaluating peace and reconciliation to address historical responsibility within international climate negotiations”, has been exploring the question: How does the Paris Agreement stand up in the light of lessons from transitional justice, and how might tools developed through such processes contribute to its implementation?

This brief explores a list of Transitional Justice tools that have been identified via an iterative workshop process over the past year. The brief is meant to inform as well as open new questions to be answered in the final 6 months of the project, where we will produce a policy proposal to be presented at COP22.

Author: S. Klinsky
Year: 2016
Type: Policy briefs
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