UN rights experts urge global governments to protect rare plants and animals
UN rights experts urge global governments to protect rare plants and animals

UN experts on Wednesday urged [press release] governments around the world to protect rare plants and animals. According to UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment John Knox,

The rapid loss of biological diversity around the world should be setting off alarm bells. We are … on our way to the sixth global extinction of species in the history of the planet, and States are still failing to halt the main drivers of biodiversity loss, including habitat destruction, poaching, and climate change.

He also reported [materials] that loss of biodiversity impacts human rights such as the right to life, health, food and water. Knox will make a formal presentation of his report dictating the relationship between loss of biodiversity and human rights to the UN Human Rights Council on March 7.

Environmental issues continue to be an important topic globally. In February UN human rights experts called [JURIST report] on global leaders to take urgent action on air pollution to ensure world citizens enjoy “the human rights to life and health in environments free from contamination.” The same month he European Commission gave final warnings [JURIST report] to Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK for failing to address air pollution. In January UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances and wastes Baskut Tuncak said [JURIST report] that the UK must take steps to control exposure to pollution and toxic chemicals for all citizens but particularly children. In November a US judge ruled [JURIST report] that a lawsuit against the US government over failure to limit the emission of greenhouse gasses can proceed. That same month governments around the world agreed [JURIST report] to legally binding limits on global temperature rises as the Paris Agreement [text, PDF] on climate change became effective. One of the biggest hurdles to reaching an agreement was getting China and the US [JURIST report] to sign on, the two countries being the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses, collectively responsible for about 40 percent of all gasses emitted. In September the International Criminal Court stated it will work to prosecute [JURIST report] environmental crimes.