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Right To A Clean, Healthy And Sustainable Environment

A clean, healthy and sustainable environment is key to the full enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, including the rights to life, health, food, water and sanitation.

Recognized by the United Nations Human Rights Council as a right in 2021 and by the General Assembly in 2022, the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment directly links environmental protection with human rights, providing an important basis for the protection of environmental human rights defenders.

Climate change and environmental degradation also raise issues of intergenerational justice and equity – the idea that present generations have certain duties towards future generations.

In depth…

Key elements of the right to a healthy environment include:

  • A safe and stable climate: Ambitious climate action is needed to protect the rights of those who are the most affected by climate change, often while having contributed the least to its occurrence.
  • Healthy ecosystems: Protecting the lands and waters around us is in the best interest of current and future generations.
  • Non-toxic environments: Pollution is the largest source of premature death in the developing world and it disproportionately affects children and young persons, and particularly those in situations of vulnerability. All people are entitled to clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and safe food to eat.
  • Justice and inclusion: All people have the right to access environmental information, to be meaningfully included in environmental policymaking and to have access to justice if affected by environmental harms in the short, medium or long-term.

More Information

Click the link to open the infographic on promoting the right to a healthy environment (available in English)

Where can I learn more?

For additional information, see:

Human Rights In The Digital Space And Right To Privacy

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