Connecting Children’s Human Rights to a Healthy Ocean

By Elisa Morgera

As part of the One Ocean Hub’ efforts to raise awareness and advance research on the inter-dependence of children’s human rights and a healthy ocean, the Hub has become a member of  the Working Group on Children’s Rights and the Environment led by Child Rights Connect in June 2022. It has also contributed to a new, freely available UN e-learning resource for 13-15 years old on children’s right to a healthy environment, including a healthy ocean.

Partnering with Child Rights Connect

Child Rights Connect is a Switzerland-based association focusing on child rights mainstreaming, empowering children’s rights defenders and strengthening the United Nations human rights mechanisms. The Working Group is aimed to advance the international recognition and implementation of children’s fundamental right to a safe and healthy environment. In order to achieve this objective, the Working Group carries out specific tasks including influencing relevant processes at the UN, particularly the work of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on environmental matters; mainstreaming children’s rights in key human rights and environmental frameworks and processes; and encouraging and supporting the reporting of children’s rights violation in relation to the degradation of the environment. They also facilitate exchange, mutual learning and capacity building; promote child-led initiatives and best practices of child participation in environmental activism; and support the work of other networks promoting children’s rights to a healthy environment. Although the Working Group focuses on UN Geneva-based activities, it  also intends to connect different communities working at different levels and on different issues related to children’s rights and the environment (Child Rights Connect, 2020).

New e-learning course “Our Rights, Our Planet”

Over the past eleven months, the Hub has partnered with the NGO “Articolo12”, Terre des Hommes, and the UN Environment Programme to co-develop an online training course on children’s human rights and the environment. The course is titled ‘Our Rights, Our Planet – stand up for the environment’, and it is part of the collaboration between the Hub and the international Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative (CERI).

Launched on 12th July 2022, the free online training is aimed at children and young people aged 13-15 years old to learn about their environmental rights and be well-equipped to stand up for their protection. The training features interviews with activists, scientists and experts from around the world, animated lessons, and interactive action games (UNEP, 2022). The Hub Director, Professor Elisa Morgera, participated in the initial consultation with the Articolo12’s team on the content for the online course. Inputs and extensive feedback were then provided by a range of Hub researchers from different disciplines, including Dr Bernadette Snow (University of Strathclyde, UK); Anna James (Rhodes University, South Africa); Mia Strand (Nelson Mandela University, South Africa) and Lindy Brown (University of Plymouth, UK). 

The training also features a video interview of deep-sea scientist Kelsey Archer Barnhill (University of Edinburgh, UK) as part of the ‘Meet the Expert’ section.

The following Hub resources are included among the references used to build the content of the training handbook: