The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), first held in 1996 to encourage informal high-level discussions between European and East Asian countries, and its supporting structure, the Asia-Europe Foundation, strengthen ties between Asia and Europe, including through organizing informal seminars on topics such as human rights. Government and civil society experts from each country attend to share experience and explore ways forward. The resulting reports are presented to all the governments of the two regions. I was invited to participate in the 13th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights, on the topic "Human Rights and the Environment" in Copenhagen on 21-23 October 2013, co-hosted by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Danish Institute of Human Rights. The seminar was held in historic Moltkes Palace, opened by the Minister of the Environment and closed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. After opening keynotes by John Knox, UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment and other leading experts, the 140 participants were divided into working groups on 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. I was in the latter group, and since this is a topic on which the International Environment Forum has made substantive contributions at the Social Forum of the Human Rights Council, as well as Rio+20, we had a lot to contribute to the discussions and final conclusions. See also the report on the IEF web site.

The morning of our departure, the organizers arranged a tour through the canals of downtown Copenhagen, so while I had been in the city for the climate change conference in 2009, it was the first time I had been able to see much of the city since my first visit in 1960.

The seminar on Human Rights and the Environment

ASEM seminar group . Moltkes Palace 
13th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights, held in Moltkes Palace in Copenhagen

ASEM seminar . ASEM seminar . ASEM seminar 
Plenary sessions

Ida Auken, Minister of the Environment . Minister of the Environment Ida AukenJohn Knox 
Minister of the Environment Ida Auken opening the seminar; John Knox, UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment

Working Group on climate change . Working Group on climate change . Working Group on climate change
Working Group on Climate Change and its Human Rights Implications

ASEM seminar . ASEM seminar . ASEM seminar - business
Plenary sessions of the seminar
ASEM seminar workshop reporters . Indigenous peoples CC . Iorns Magallanes
Rapporteurs summarize the working groups; side event on Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples

Highlights of central Copenhagen and its canals
house . Marble Church . Frederic V
Odd Fellow Palæet; Frederiks Church (Marble Church); statue of Frederik V

Amalienborg Palace . Amalienborg Palace
Amalienborg Royal Palace

Amalienborg Palace . Amalienborg Palace . Amalienborg Palace Frederic V

Amalienborg Palace . Amalienborg Gardens
Looking through Amalienborg Palace square to Marble Church; Amalienborg Gardens

Opera from Amalienborg gardens . opera
The Opera House from Amalienborg Gardens, and from the canal boat

park . park . houses
Gardens along Skt. Annæ Plads; old houses

church . Nyhavn
Garnisons Church; Nyhaven
town centre . theatre . actors
Department Store; The Royal Theatre; actors posing

Christianshavn with a cruise ship arriving

Naval docks
port . houseboat . canal
Sydhavnen; houseboat; Frederiksholms Canal

canal . houses . canal
Houseboats and houses along the canal
spiral steeple . oldest house . little mermaid
Spiral church steeple; old red house; the Little Mermaid

houseboat . sunken houseboat . houseboat
Houseboats of all sizes and shapes (even under water)

houseboat . bridge . museum
Light ship turned into houseboat; Christiansborg; Thorvaldsens Museum

Cityscape from the port

Old and new buildings
Black Diamond . warehouse . city
Black Diamond; old warehouse turned into apartments; canal

supreme court . church . city
Christiansborg Castle (Parliament House); Holmens Church; old stock exchange

market . national bank . warehouse
Børsen; National Bank; old warehouse turned into apartments

market, court
Børsen and Christiansborg Castle


warehouse . bridge . library
old warehouse; unfinished bridge; Royal Danish Playhouse

navy yard . navy yard
Nyholm naval yard

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Last updated 31 October 2013

Photographs copyright © Arthur Lyon Dahl 2013