POLICY BRIEF: Don’t forget a healthy ocean as part of children’s right to a healthy environment
By Michael Sweeney and Elisa Morgera
This policy brief is primarily aimed at human rights lawyers, government representatives and civil society contributing to discussions on children’s rights and the environment, with a view to raising their awareness about the unique role the ocean has in the protection of those rights. The brief is also relevant for:
- State actors who make decisions concerning the ocean (its conservation and the sustainable use of marine and coastal areas and resources;
- NGOs involved in ocean conservation, environmental protection and/or human rights;
- Businesses interested in the impacts their activities may have on the ocean, the larger environment and/or children; and
- youth activists and educators.
- ocean degradation is a major threat to the protection and enjoyment of children’s human rights;
- despite its importance, ocean health is paid little attention in research on children’s rights and the environment and in relevant UN reports;
- Human rights experts involved in international initiatives on children’s human rights, a healthy environment and climate change should ensure consideration of the role of a healthy ocean for protecting and fully realizing children’s human rights;
- States and businesses should ensure that their decision, activities and policies on ocean conservation and sustainable use should systematically consider potential impacts on children’s human rights;
- Future research on the relationship between a healthy environment, climate change and children’s human rights should consider the importance of the ocean for the protection of these rights.
- The importance of a healthy ocean for children’s rights should be included in education initiatives, with a view to promoting greater participation of children in ocean decision-making processes and conservation initiatives.