Human Rights Screening Tool

    Natural climate solutions are defined as being nature-based, sustainable, climate additional, measurable, and equitable. NCS projects are equitable if, at a minimum, they respect human rights and Indigenous self-determination. In practice, this requires conducting human rights due diligence (HRDD). HRDD is a multi-layered process of policy development, impact assessment, community engagement, risk mitigation, monitoring, and remedy mechanisms for unavoided harm, that should be embedded into project design and operations. A preliminary screening to identify and prioritize issues is a key part of getting started.

    The Human Rights Screening Tool was designed by NCS specialists at The Nature Conservancy, working with human rights consultants at Forum Nobis , and is being piloted with field teams who are working directly with local communities. It offers a specific, actionable process through which teams can identify potential human rights risks and prioritize them, consistent with HRDD principles, for attention, community engagement, and action.

    This is the beta version of what is anticipated to be an open-source Tool hosted by naturebase and Nature4Climate for the community of conservation organizations, project developers, and communities working to advance NCS action. Users are invited to explore the Tool and consider ways it might be improved. After an initial period, interested users will be invited to contribute to an assessment process and become co-contributors to further development. In the meantime, please feel free to share your feedback with us using this form .

    Please note: This Human Rights Screening Tool is a self-assessment process to help teams identify human-rights-based project risks and prioritize risks for further attention and action in collaboration with communities to fulfill the larger responsibility of human rights due diligence. This Tool does not and is not intended to provide any specific advice on human rights issues or particular locations. This Tool is not intended as a human rights violation reporting instrument. It is the responsibility of the user to report violations to the appropriate organizational, national, or international authorities.

    This Tool is not intended to process personal information and users are advised to avoid entering such information into this Tool. Your privacy is important to us. Any and all information you enter in this Human Rights Screening Tool is for your personal use only and will not be accessible to other individual users. All data that you chose to insert into the self-assessment tool is owned by you and will not be actioned on or used by Nature4Climate or TNC for any purpose other than providing reports to you. Please note: user-entered data will be deleted in June 2024 for the release of version 2 of this tool. Users should download their reports prior to June 2024 to save their work. If users would like to have their account and the data therein deleted before that time, please contact us at .

    Successful and lasting conservation should prioritize the human rights, collective rights, authority and capacity of all Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, termed Communities in this tool, to manage and protect their lands and natural resources.

    This Human Rights Screening Tool is a screening process to help conservation project teams:

    1. identify human-rights-based project risks
    2. prioritize risks for further attention and action in collaboration with Communities
    3. fulfill the larger responsibility of human rights due diligence

    The work of this Tool occurs in three phases:

    1. Research
      • Engage and conduct preliminary research
        • See Human Rights Guide, Module 1
      • Complete Project and Community Background
    2. Screening
      • Perform the Contextual Risk Screen
        • Identify whether risks are present: “yes,” “no,” or “more research”
        • Produce a Research List of issues needing further investigation
      • Perform the Project Risk Screen
        • Make Project Risk Determinations based on risks and issues identified in the previous screen.
        • Generate the Escalate List, Prioritize List, and Watch List
    3. Follow up
      • Investigate Research List issues identified in Phase 2 above
        • Perform another Contextual Risk Screen after this research is finished.
      • For issues on the Escalate List, seek supervisory or higher level review. For severe risks, seek review beyond the project team.
      • For issues on the Prioritize List, conduct analysis and engagement
        • Keep focus on these issues as you develop and implement projects.
        • Look for opportunities to integrate this work into ongoing processes
      • For issues on the Watch List, continue to monitor.
        • Review this list annually at minimum, or more frequently as projects demand.
        • Review during project implementation.
        • Review <link href="/other-tools">Other Tools for any equity and well-being concerns.
      • Note: Don’t begin new projects or expand current projects until the above review is finished.

    To help teams identify potential issues and prioritize them for action, this Tool walks teams through key issues reflected by 82 indicators and provides specific guidance to help make Project Risk Determinations, prioritize, and decide next steps.

    Screening for project risk occurs in two steps, ensuring a comprehensive analysis.

    The Contextual Risk Screen assesses human rights risk in the project’s geographic and social environment, which might or might not be linked to the project.

    The Project Risk Screen looks at identified contextual risks more concretely at present and future risks to the project, using the structured Project Risk Determination process.

    Responses to these screening assessments are scored and divided into four lists:

    1. The Research List shows issues and indicators where further information is needed which might be sourced from independent research, engaging with Communities, or both. This must be completed before the Screens on those issues can proceed.
    2. The Escalate List reflects potentially severe human-rights risks, and requires supervisory or a third-party perspective.
    3. The Prioritize List reflects risks that should use the Rightsholder Engagement Tool during project development.
    4. The Watch List reflects less applicable project risks, which should be reviewed yearly at a minimum. The Watch List also includes broader equity and well-being considerations, which might be best addressed with tools not in this Tool.

    This tool is designed for field teams, who are expected to rely on their local knowledge and experience to complete the assessment. The tool does not require participation with Communities throughout, as such an onus could be burdensome for many Communities and raise representation issues.

    However, post-screening action steps, such as the development of more in-depth human rights risk analyses or rightsholder engagements, will require participation with Communities. At later stages, it might make sense to ask Communities to validate screening determinations.

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    The Human Rights Screening Tool is designed to identify potential human rights risks, prioritize them for further action, and fulfill the larger responsibility of human rights due diligence