Reflecting on children’s rights and the right to a healthy environment

By Alana Malinde S. N. Lancaster and Elisa Morgera

What are the intersections and opportunities for protecting children’s human rights and everyone’s right to a healthy environment, including a healthy ocean? Hub researchers Alana Malinde S. N. Lancaster (Environmental Law, Ocean Governance & Climate Justice Unit, University of the West Indies) and
Elisa Morgera (University of Strathclyde) explored this question at an academic-practitioner workshop in Oñati, Spain, in April 2024.

The workshop was organised by Prof Aoife Daly (University College Cork), whose work on children’s agency in exercising their human rights inspired the Hub paper on children’s right to be heard, and Dina Lupin (University of Southampton), with whom the Hub has collaborated for many years as part of the Winter/Summer School organised by the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment.

Alana presented on ‘Bridging the Gaps Created by Conflicts & Disasters to A Child’s Right to A Healthy Ocean Environment: Reflections on Blue (Ocean) Crimes & the Contribution of International [Child] Law’, with a focus on children in small-scale fishing communities. Elisa presented on ‘The interplay of children’s human rights, the human right to a healthy environment and the human right to science: shedding new light on States‘ individual and collective obligations on scientific cooperation and on capacity, financial and technological solidarity’.

The workshop provided a very enriching opportunity to discuss how to bring together the communities of practice focused on children’s rights and on environmental law, with a view to breathing new life and approaches to concepts such as sustainable development, participation and education. The conversation will continue in September 2024, with an international conference organized by Prof Daly at University College Cork on Child/Youth-friendly Climate Justice: Progress and Opportunities, which will provide opportunities to reflect on the ocean-climate nexus and children’s human rights (see also here), including on the basis of the Hub’s submissions to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (see also here) and the International Court of Justice.

Click the “One Ocean Learn” button in the Hub’s menu header – If you wish to know more about children’s human rights and ocean governance, please explore this Learning Pathway on One Ocean Learn: Children’s rights and ocean governance.

Related SDGs:

  • Reduced inequality
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Responsible consumption and production
  • Climate action
  • Life below water