Event information

6 February 2020, 09:15-13:00

Downloads

Agenda >

Is it Time for Universal Recognition of the Right to a Safe, Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment?

Event

A forest A forest

Building on earlier work by the United Nations (UN) Commission on Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and its mechanisms have been actively engaged on the topic of human rights and the environment. They have made enormous progress in clarifying and setting down the human rights normative framework as it relates to the environment and to environmental protection. In particular, they have demonstrated that environmental harm (including that caused by climate change) has enormous negative implications for the enjoyment of human rights, especially for the most vulnerable in society, and that, conversely, human rights obligations and principles can help guide better environmental policymaking at the international and national levels. In parallel, the Council and its mechanisms have also drawn increasing attention to individuals working at the interface of human rights and environmental protection: environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs).

This progress led the first Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John Knox, to use his last speech to the HRC as mandate-holder to urge the international community to consider the next logical step in this process: formal UN recognition of the universal right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. In doing so, the UN would be reflecting the growing practice of states – well over a hundred countries have now recognized the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment (in different formulations) in law; as well as the reality in various regional human rights systems (e.g. Africa, Latin America). The current UN Special Rapporteur, David Boyd, has made this drive for recognition of ‘the right to the environment’ one of his key priorities.

To kick-start discussions at the UN about the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, this expert seminar – organized by the HRC core group on human rights and the environment (made up of Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia and Switzerland), with the support of the Universal Rights Group (URG), the Geneva Academy, UNICEF, UNEP, and OHCHR – will consider the growing recognition of the ‘right to environment’ around the world; discuss the value of this right for individual rights-holders and for the environment; and will answer the question: is it time for universal recognition of this right at UN-level?

Registration

You need to register on the URG website to attend this event.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

View of the conference room News

Annual Conference Underlines the Importance of Strong National Human Rights Systems

21 October 2021

With over 500 registered participants in Geneva and online and 24 partners, the conference focused on the capacity of domestic actors to mutually engage with each other and liaise with Geneva-based international human rights bodies in the context of implementation, monitoring and follow-up to UN human rights recommendations.

Read more

A general view of the Human Rights Council News

Professor Gabriella Citroni Elected to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

15 July 2021

Professor Gabriella Citroni – who is part of our LLM Faculty – has been elected to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

Read more

Logo of the Atlas Network Event

Women's Perspectives on a Career in International Law

14 December 2021, 15:00-16:15

In this online event co-organized with the ATLAS Network, prominent women in international law will share their experience and advice through an interactive discussion.

Read more

Event

Ending Coercive Interrogation: The New Principles on Effective Interviewing for Investigations and Information Gathering

10 December 2021, 17:30-19:00

This event – co-organized with the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) – will discuss the new Principles on Effective Interviewing for Investigations and Information Gathering – also known as the Méndez Principles.

Read more

Prison visit by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Haiti Short Course

The Implementation of International Human Rights Law

16 December - 14 January 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, aims at presenting the institutions and procedures in charge of the implementation of international human rights law.

Read more

Human Rights Commission, VCalparaiso, Chile Project

The Role of National Human Rights Systems in the Implementation of International Human Rights Standards and Recommendations

Started in March 2020

This project aims to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the strengths and weaknesses affecting different National Human Rights Systems.

Read more

A session of the UN Human Rights Committtee at Palais Wilson Project

Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms

Started in April 2019

Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with experts, the project aims at examining how – if at all possible – IHL could be more systematically, appropriately and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well from universal and regional treaties.

Read more

cover of the publication Publication

Promoting Quality Independent and Diverse Treaty Body Membership

published on November 2021

Claire Callejon

Read more