UN Recognition of the Right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment: past developments and future prospects
April 12, 2022, 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM EDT I In-person and Online event
GANHRI is co-sponsoring this event hosted by the UN Environment Programme, the Universal Rights Group, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, and New York University. The seminar will take place on 12 April (from 08:30 to 12:00) at New York University, and feature interactive roundtable discussions with interventions by UN senior officials, UN Special Rapporteurs, UN entities, academic experts, civil society leaders, business representatives, and environmental human rights defenders.
To encourage further discussions at UN headquarters about the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, including its merits for people and planet, and to take forward the Council’s invitation that ‘the General Assembly […] consider the matter’, on 12 April UNEP, the Universal Rights Group, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and environment, New York University, and others, will convene an expert seminar to consider developments to-date, discuss key issues and questions (including legal questions) related to the right to a healthy environment (including those posed during negotiations over resolution 48/13), look ahead to possible GA recognition and what it would mean, and reflect on the benefits of recognition for individual rights-holders around the world, including EHRDs, as well as for the natural environment (including addressing the three interwoven planetary crises of biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change).
08:00 – 08:30 Coffee
08:30 – 9:00 Welcome and keynote speeches
Welcome by moderators: Marc Limon, URG Executive Director, and Daniel Magraw, President Emeritus CIEL (5 mins)
- H.E. Ligia Noronha, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of New York Office, UNEP
- H.E. Ilze Brands Kehris, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, OHCHR
- Senior official from the Executive Office of the Secretary-General (TBC)
- Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, UNICEF
- Youth activist (UNICEF video)
09:00 – 10:15 Roundtable discussion 1: UN recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment: what has happened so-far and where are we now?
Moderator: Marc Limon, URG
- The right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment around the world – where are we today, what does it mean, and what is the value-added for people and communities? – Dr David Boyd, Special Rapporteur on human rights and environment
- The story so-far, and key legal questions from Human Rights Council negotiations – Prof. John Knox, Wake Forest University
- The benefits of a right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment at regional and national levels: a case study – Dr Maria Antonia Tigre, Global Climate Litigation fellow, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School and Deputy Director, Global Network for Human Rights, and the Environment
10:15 – 10:30 Coffee break
10:30-11:45 Roundtable discussion 2: UN recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, future prospects – what would/could it mean for people and planet?
Moderator: Daniel Magraw, CIEL
- Generating a ‘normative cascade’ – Prof. Cesar Rodriguez-Garavito, New York University
- #TheTimeIsNow – what would full UN recognition mean for people and planet? –Marya Farah, Franciscan International
- #TheTimeIsNow – what would full UN recognition mean for people and planet? –Samia Shell, Youth climate activist
11:45-12:00 Closing remarks
- Joint statement by Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia and Switzerland
- Dr David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
The expert seminar is co-sponsored by: UNICEF; OHCHR; UNDP; Foreign Policy Institute (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University; Center for Urban Environmental Reform, CUNY School of Law; Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, WWF International; Global Pact Coalition; Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice; The Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment; Quaker United Nations Office; Franciscans International; International Service for Human Rights; BirdLife International; Center for International Environmental Law; The B Team; Terre des Hommes; Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative (CERI).