“We have only one Earth” as said at the UN environmental conference of 1972 in Stockholm. However, more than 45 years later, all the environmental indicators are red, whether for the climate, animal and plant species preservation, or air, land, and ocean pollution. Each citizen of the world knows it is now urgent to act globally. After the fundamental step of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, there needs to be a boost in international action and support in the adoption of the Global Pact for the Environment.
Beyond the symbolism, the Pact will allow the emergence of a global legal framework that better protects our planet, all while filling the gaps in international environmental law. The Pact will unify international law that is currently fragmented between technical and sectorial treaties (climate, biodiversity, pollution…), which are essential texts but hardly accessible to citizens. Since everything is interconnected within ecosystems, the Pact globally envisions the question of protecting the planet. Unlike the existing agreements that only focus on limiting subjects, the Pact aims to be the first international treaty to address the matter of environment as a whole.
Founded both on the right to live in a healthy environment and on the duty to take care of the environment, the Global Pact will give citizens the legal tools to become actors in the protection of the planet. It will recognize the fundamental principles of prevention and remediation of environmental damage and will establish the tools to implement them (right to information and to public participation, right to access to environmental justice). The Pact will favor the harmonization and clarification of the standards for companies, in order to avoid environmental dumping which is just as dangerous for jobs as for the planet. It will drive legislators in each State to enact new protective environmental laws. It will inspire judges to adopt more ambitious legal solutions.
For over 30 years, many jurists have recommended the adoption of such a fundamental text. In June 2017, the project of the Global Pact was drafted and presented to States by an international network of a hundred experts from all over the world. May 10, 2018, a General Assembly vote at the UN launched negotiations amongst states. In December 2018, the UN Secretary General published a report recommending States to adopt such an international instrument. The negotiations between the States are currently on going.