Global Pact Coalition’s Year in Review and Future Outlook

What better way to end the year than by attending the 2023 United Nations Human Rights Prize ceremony? The Global Pact Coalition (GPC) is honored to share that the Global Coalition for the Recognition of the Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment, of which we are an active part, has been awarded the prestigious 2023 United Nations Human Rights Prize. This recognition underscores the collective impact of civil society, Indigenous Peoples, social movements, and local communities in championing the universal recognition of the right to a healthy environment. 


In 2023, the GPC advocated for the promotion and recognition of environmental rights at the international, regional and national levels. Our active involvement in numerous events, conferences and negotiations within the realm of international environmental law has solidified our commitment to positive change. Our dedicated team of Pact ambassadors has flourished, spreading across the globe, vigorously advocating for the protection of environmental rights in their countries. 


Highlights from 2023

This year, the Global Pact Coalition has actively promoted the recognition and protection of environmental rights… 


  • The GPC responded to the call for comments issued by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning its draft general comment nº26 on children’s rights and the environment. In its contribution, the Coalition advocated for the recognition of children’s right to a healthy environment. The general comment was published in August 2023 and affirms that children have a right to live in a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, marking a significant milestone.


  • From 29 May to 2 June 2023, the Coalition attended the second round of negotiations for a UN treaty on plastic pollution (INC-2), in Paris. Following the negotiations, the Coalition submitted written observations recommending that the preamble of the draft treaty mention the right to a healthy environment and crucial environmental law principles, such as intergenerational equity and non-regression.


  • The GPC submitted its comments to the Secretariat of the Montevideo Programme regarding the partnership and stakeholder engagement strategy under the Montevideo Environmental Law Programme V.


  • Throughout 2023, the Coalition has actively participated in the campaign for the adoption of an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, which would recognize the right to a healthy environment. In this context, the Coalition worked closely with other civil society organizations and influential figures, such as David Boyd.


  • The Coalition has kept a close eye on the ongoing debates at the UN Human Rights Council regarding the implementation of the 2022 UN General Assembly resolution recognizing the human right to a healthy environment.


The GPC is also proud to share the steady growth of the “Green Diplomacy” blog! The most recent Call for Papers has attracted many fascinating articles on how to advance international environmental law and governance to meet the challenges of today. Some of its contributors this year included Nele Matz-Lück, Victor Tafur, Jorge E. Viñuales, and Bharat Desai.


In 2023, a number of academic publications advocated for the adoption of a Global Pact for the Environment, including works by Pinar Yagci, Yann Aguila, António Cortês, and Victoria Lichet


In 2024, we anticipate the following exciting developments: 

Building on the UN Human Rights award, the GPC hopes to revive discussions around an international treaty on the right to a healthy environment. We are optimistic about advancing the 2022 UN General Assembly resolution into an international convention on environmental rights. The eagerly awaited advisory opinions from the International Court of Justice and Inter-American Court of Human Rights on States’ obligations related to climate change will also significantly shape our future initiatives.


Stay tuned for new projects in 2024, including informative videos on environmental rights and an Environmental Law Fresk workshop!


Last but not least, the Global Pact Coalition will soon undergo some exciting changes… Over the past months, our leadership team has been working on a strategic plan to enhance our actions and better align our efforts with our mission. Be ready for upcoming news!🎉🤫


Great progress has been made at the international, regional, and national levels since the United Nations recognized the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. This is just the beginning and much more can be done. As we turn the page to 2024, let us harness the momentum gained and continue our collective efforts toward better protection of the environment and people’s health.