Global environmental challenges – climate change, food insecurity or lack of access to water, land or raw materials – are on the rise. Besides their major impact on stability and security worldwide, they are also leading to displacement, human rights violations and conflict.
Although the linkages between the environment and human rights have occasionally been recognized by domestic, regional and international courts and human rights mechanisms, the recognition of a right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in October 2021 provides a stronger basis for more direct and consistent protection of the environment and human rights.
Building on this recent recognition, this research aims at mainstreaming the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and the protection it affords in the work of the UN Human Rights Council, its Special Procedures and Universal Periodic Review, as well as in the work of the UN General Assembly and UN treaty bodies.
Mainstreaming this right will provide guidance for judicial and administrative decision-making related to the environment and human rights, encourage states to prioritize its implementation through legislation, policy and resource allocation, and potentially provide access to justice and remedies for those who suffer from the impacts of environmental degradation and climate change.
The project’s team will undertake three complementary activities in 2022:
- The organization of a closed expert seminar with the participation of UN human rights mechanisms, oversight mechanisms of multilateral environmental agreements and other key partners in order to gather crucial input and feedback on the research
- The organization of a public event with the participation of relevant stakeholders, including states, experts, international organizations, and NGOs to discuss the research and promote the mainstreaming of the right to a healthy environment
- Draft a series of publications to provide all relevant stakeholders with scientific-based evidence to guide their work in integrating and better protecting the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.