At HRC 48, GANHRI joins states, civil society and UN experts in calling for global recognition of the right to healthy environment as a universal human right

48th Human Rights Council session – 22 September 2021

GANHRI joins the initiative at the Human Rights Council’s 48th session to formally recognise the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a universal human right.  

“Recognising the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right at global level will send a strong message about the need for urgent action and adequate attention in addressing the environmental and human rights crises we are faced with“ said GANHRI’s Geneva Representative Katharina Rose in a video statement at HRC 48. 

GANHRI called on all states to support the adoption of the proposed resolution.  

Following the 2020 UN Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights, which recognises the urgency of achieving sustainable development, a core group of states are presenting at HRC 48 a resolution aimed at formally recognising the right to safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a universal human right.  

This initiative is also supported by over 1’000 civil society organisations, as well as UN agenciesSpecial Procedures, and global businesses. 

“Around the world, there is a growing recognition that it is indeed a human right to live in a healthy environment,” said UN independent experts on human rights in a joint statement to mark the World Environment Day in June 2021. 

The right to a healthy environment is recognized by over 150 UN member states in national legislation or policies, or through regional agreements, but it has not yet been formally recognized at the global level thereby delaying achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

“This recognition will mark an important and much needed milestone. A safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is essential to the realisation of the right to life, and of all other human rights.” said Ms Rose.  

During the 2020 GANHRI Annual Conference, National human rights institutions (NHRIs) from all regions pledged to work individually and collectively to promote human rights-based climate action. The conference statement – Climate Change: The Role of National Human Rights Institutions – sets out the practical ways that NHRIs will work for climate justice. 

In implementing the Conference Statement, GANHRI in partnership with UNEP, UNDP and OHCHR, is supporting member NHRIs from around the world to make progress on promoting human rights-based climate action by providing platforms for exchanging experiences, build capacities and coordinate our collective engagement in various climate change and environment related processes, including the upcoming COP 26.