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Why a healthy and clean environment is a human right
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Why a healthy and clean environment is a human right

  • The WHOClimate change is predicted to cause 250,000 deaths per annum between 2030-2050, according to forecasts.
  • The UN Human Rights Council first discussed the issue in the 1990s. It declared that a healthy, clean, and sustainable environment was essential. human right.
  • Leading voices from civil society explained why this is so important to ensure a healthy environment.

On 8 October 2021 the UN Human Rights Council declared that a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment was essential. Human rightWith 43 votes in favor and four abstentions, the result was overwhelmingly in favor. The 1990s were the first time the measure was debated. The new resolution is the result of decades of advocacy by various civil society groups.

The WHOAccording to forecasts, climate change will cause approximately 250,000 deaths annually between 2030 and 2050 from factors like malnutrition and heat stress. The direct costs of this will range between USD 2-4 billion per annum by 2030. More than a quarter planets populationFor their livelihood, they rely on forests. 1.2 billion peopleIn tropical countries, people rely on nature to meet their basic needs.

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated that the declaration on the right of a healthy environment was a springboard for promoting transformative economic, socio-environmental policies that will protect both people and nature.

We asked leaders of civil society what they think government, business, and civil society should do to create and protect a clean environment. Here’s what they had to say:

We need to reframe how we relate to nature

Gopal Patel, Cofounder & Director, Bhumi Global

We need to change the way we view the natural world in order for us to provide a sustainable, clean and healthy environment for everyone. Too long, we have artificially isolated ourselves from nature. We have created an artificial divide between ourselves, the natural world, and ourselves. This is evident in our politics, economic models, and modern lifestyles.

This is not natural. It is also, as we are finding out, not sustainable for the planet or humanity. The human species is intrinsically interconnected with nature. Nature has been a common theme throughout history, as well as in all parts of the globe. It is the basis for all our civilizations, cultures, and way of life. It is essential to return to this way to think if you want to restore the environment and address the climate crisis.

A social dialogue is necessary

Kitso Phiri, Executive Secretary, Botswana Mine Workers Union

To realize the right to a healthy and safe environment, it is necessary to engage in social dialog with tripartite parties to reconcile social and economic interests. While the laws generally require businesses to address environmental impacts from their economic activities, the weak government regulatory mechanism makes enforcement difficult. Multinational enterprises face these challenges even more. A similarly weak civil society is unable to monitor the level of compliance with environment obligations and make meaningful contributions to environmental policy formulation, management and management.

States should improve their environmental management policies and regulations. They should also build the capacities of civil societies and government entities.

This is a game-changer for the planet and people

Monica Iyer is a Human Rights Officer for the Environment and Climate Change Team at United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights

The Human Rights Councils recognize the need for a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment Human rights can be a game-changer in the lives of people and the environment.

However, there are many more things that must be done to make this right a reality. States must make efforts to work with businesses, civil society, and other stakeholders in order to achieve the right working together. They must immediately take appropriate financial support to finance environmental actions and support a just transition towards a sustainable, human rights-based, sustainable economy. BusinessesIt is important to include environmental considerations in human right due diligence processes. They must fully account for how their activities may affect human rights.

Those with power and access should speak up for the people and communities that are affected by environmental policy, such as COP26. These individuals and communities often feel excluded despite being the most vulnerable and having the best understanding of the solutions. They should also be open to accepting responsibility for environmental damage.

Clean air and clean water are essential for the well-being of women and other vulnerable groups.

Kahea Pacheco, Co-Director, Womens Earth Alliance

Each hour, approximately 240 acres of natural habitat are destroyed. This environmental degradation is most severe for women and girls. 30% of the world’s population does not have safe drinking water. UNICEFRecognizes the 200 million hours women and girls spend collecting water each day as a massive waste of their precious time. EvidenceResearch shows that women’s participation in local forest management significantly improves conservation and forest conditions. It is vital that Indigenous women lead the way in conserving life without putting undue pressure on already vulnerable communities.

Economic recovery and environmental actions can go hand-in-hand

Jennifer Morris, Chief Executive officer, The Nature Conservancy

It is clear that there is a direct link between human well-being and the health of nature. To protect the best of what’s left on Earth and at sea, governments, businesses, and civil society must work together at all levels to improve areas such as food production, energy sitting, fishing, and infrastructure planning. There is a clear pathway to financing this transformation through the reduction of inefficient subsidies and supply chains practices, new sources for funding, and investing in a way which pays dividends for the environment.

We can close almost half of the biodiversity funding gap without any new funding. This is because we can reduce capital flow to harmful activities and shift it towards activities that benefit nature. Economic recovery and environmental action can be a pair if done well. This will lead to happier, more prosperous lives.

This is a clear call for accountability and public engagement

Amali Tower, Founder & Executive Director, Climate Refugees

The pandemic demonstrated how interconnected our environment really is and how inequitable it is. The pandemic has shown that high-emitting, rich countries are protecting themselves from the effects of climate change in a similar way to other countries. This is not only a moral matter, but also a matter of justice. These governments need to make urgent changes. 80%global emissions and to fully transition towards green economies. These countries must provide urgent climate adaptation finance, not loans, that the developing countries have long awaited in order to develop sustainably and to build resilience to the disproportionate effects of climate change on their population, many of which are constantly on the move. They also require climate finance to offset irreversible damages and prevent them from being displaced and forced migration.

To ensure that the right to a healthy environment is upheld to its full extent, governments must also ratify or update their laws. This includes holding businesses, especially extractive industries, compliant. Climate related litigation has been effective in empowering people to take action on environmental pollution and climate change. GermanyThe NetherlandsMoreover, in France, pollution played a significant role in determining individual rights. Rights of migrants to reside. This opportunity must be used by civil society as a call for public engagement and to hold governments accountable. The greatest hope lies in the resilient Global South, youth, and pointing the way forward.

For those most affected, the right to a healthy and safe environment is a hope.

Katharina Rall is Senior Researcher for Environment & Human Rights at Human Rights Watch

Many communities around world are already suffering from the effects of climate change and the adoption of the resolution recognising the right to a healthy environmental could bring some relief to those communities. environmental degradationand climate change. To ensure that the right is enjoyed by all, governments must recognize it Right at the national scaleDevelop strong environmental protection laws and policies that protect the rights and interests of at-risk populations. This includes requiring businesses comply with environmental and human rights standards. climate change due diligenceRegulations and ensuring broad participation by civil society groups, impacted populations, and in environmental decision-making environmental defendersUnder threat of attack

Businesses must comply with all laws and ensure that they operate in compliance with them. Global value chainsThey must ensure that they do not adversely affect the environment or violate rights of the communities nearby. This includes rigorous environmental and human rights due diligence. They should stop trying to silence environmental advocates by filing baseless nuisance lawsuits, also known as strategic lawsuits. Participation of the publicSLAPPs or SLAPPs and align their business models to international environmental and human right standards.

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