climate governance

TakeAction for December 2020: Building a healthy environment

Calls for the right to a healthy environment

International recognition of the right to a healthy environment is the subject of a number of different calls for endorsement aimed at various groups.

This fundamental right is one of the pillars of the preliminary draft of the Global Pact for the Environment.

The Global Pact for the Environment would be an international treaty, with legal force, dedicated to the principles that guide environmental action.


A call from NGOs for the recognition of the right to a healthy environment

WFM – Canada has joined more than 850 civil society organizations, including the Global Pact Coalition,  that 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 is no human rights on a dead planet”. Organizations can sign the call here.


The States statement for a healthy environment

In September, in a letter to the United Nations, a group of experts, including UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and the Environment, David R. Boyd, called for the recognition of this right to a healthy environment. 

In the same month, the Core Group of States for Human Rights and the Environment, an informal coalition, announced the start of consultations to pave the way for universal recognition of the right to a healthy environment. 

Following this, the Universal Rights Group, a human rights think tank, 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 here.


Call from the New York City Bar Association  

This past September, the New York City Bar Association called on the UN to formally recognize the human right to a healthy environment.

They emphasize that this recognition will establish a unified basis for environmental rights and duties internationally and, additionally, encourage citizen awareness and participation and will have a positive impact on businesses.


What you can do

The campaign, One Planet One Right: Make it a human right to live on a healthy planet, has a petition open for signatures by individuals.

“Recognition of a universal human right to a healthy natural environment is just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle assembled to address the existential crises of climate and collapsing biodiversity which threaten life on planet earth as we know it. If the COVID-19 crisis teaches us anything, it is how the reckless way we treat nature threatens our lives, our economies and our very future. A post-COVID recovery must be green and sustainable, and leave business as usual in the past.”

Currently, the petition has almost 120,000 signatures. You can sign it here.

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