Contributing to a policy dialogue on the international recognition of the human right to a healthy environment
Hub Director Elisa Morgera was invited to a policy dialogue on the international recognition of the human right to healthy environment, and its meaning for States, rights-holders and for nature.
The dialogue was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN in Geneva in cooperation with the Universal Rights Group, ahead of the 2022 high-level retreat Glion Human Rights Dialogue, which brings together states, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the wider UN and NGOs to assess how to overcome key challenges by strengthening the UN human rights system.
Prof Morgera recommended four areas for immediate action to make the human right to a healthy environment a reality:
- interpreting the precautionary principle in human rights terms, by, for instance, relying also on specific evidence on the impacts of potential environmental degradation on children’s human rights, women’s human rights or indigenous peoples’ human rights;
- connecting work on environmental finance and on human rights budgeting to clarify the practical means for States to comply with their obligation to pursue the full realization of the human right to a healthy environment with “maximum available resources”;
- to invest in, and ensure equitable access to, deep-sea science with a view to fill current knowledge gaps on actual and potential damage to deep-sea ecosystems and knock-on effects on human rights; and
- shaping State cooperation in accordance with the human right to a healthy environment, both in the context of development cooperation and of intergovernmental negotiations, such as the UN negotiations on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction and the International Seabed Authority (see also here and here).
Prof Morgera also mentioned the Hub’s partnership with FAO and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as an example of UN coordination to support the human right to a healthy environment of small-scale fishers; and the role of UN Country Teams in supporting environmental human rights defenders, including ocean defenders.
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