Calls for the International Recognition of the Right to a Healthy Environment

NGOs, jurists, and citizens from all over the world are calling the United Nations to recognize the right to a healthy environment. This fundamental right is one of the pillars of the preliminary draft of the Global Pact of the Environment.

 

850 NGOs Call for the Recognition of the Right to a Healthy Environment

In September 2020, more than 850 civil society organizations, including the Global Pact Coalition, have called for the recognition of the right to a healthy environment by the UN Human Rights Council.

Entitled “The Time is Now”, this call states that “there are no human rights on a dead planet”. Organizations can sign the call here.

Birdlife has also launched the “One Planet One Right” petition, which invites citizens to claim their right to a healthy environment. Currently, the petition has nearly 120 000 signatures. You can sign it here.

 

The States’ Statement for a Healthy Environment

On September 14, 2020, in a letter to the United Nations, a group of experts called for the recognition of the right to a healthy environment. Among the signatories are the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and the Environment, David R. Boyd, and his predecessor, John Knox.

On September 24, 2020, the Core Group of States for Human Rights and the Environment announced the start of consultations to pave the way for universal recognition of the right to a healthy environment. This Group is an informal coalition of States working for the recognition of the right to a healthy environment. It brings together Costa Rica, the Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Following this call, the Universal Rights Group, an influential think tank in the human rights arena, invited States to submit the necessary resolutions for the recognition of this right by the 50th anniversary of the Stockholm Conference in 2022. Its statement is available online.

 

The Call of the New York City Bar Association

In a report released in mid-September 2020, the New York City Bar association called on the UN to formally recognize the human right to a healthy environment.

The Bar association emphasizes that this recognition will establish a unified basis for environmental rights and duties internationally. In addition, it will encourage citizen awareness and participation and will have a positive impact on businesses.