The United Human Rights Council recognized a “safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment” as a fundamental human right on Friday.
The resolution first proposed in the 1990s will implement the right to a healthy environment and introduce a Special Rapporteur to establish these changes. The text proposed by countries including the Maldives and Morocco passed with the only abstentions being Russia, India, China, and Japan. The resolution will not be legally binding, and the states involved will not be bound by the terms according to the ambassador in Geneva, Rita French.
The purpose of the resolution is to tackle the growing threat of climate change and its effects, such as flash floods in China and water droughts in Madagascar. The High Commissioner of the Human Rights Council called this a triple planetary threat of “climate change, pollution and nature loss.” It was also urged that the currently negotiated Global Biodiversity Framework shall integrate a “human rights” angle when discussing action to promote biodiversity. The intensity of this threat was cited in
This extra emphasis on protecting human rights when improving the quality of the environment comes before the UN climate change summit, CO26 in Glasgow next month. States will come together to discuss steps to improve climate change, especially in an era where 24.3% of global deaths are due to air and chemical pollution.