Having a “healthy and sustainable” environment is a “human right” according to the UN



The degradation of the environment, in particular of the climate, is inseparable from the question of human rights: this is what, on October 8, the United Nations Human Rights Council recognized at the highest level, by passing two resolutions. keys. The first (48/13) stipulates that access to a “Clean, healthy and sustainable environment” is a human right; the second (48/14) creates a post of “special rapporteur” on the impacts of climate change on human rights.

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“It’s a strong signal, underlines MEP Marie Toussaint, specialist in climate justice issues. He reminds us that separating the rights of nature and human rights makes no sense, and that to fight for the environment is to fight for social justice ”. According to “The World Health Organization, 24% of all deaths in the world, or about 13.7 million deaths per year, are linked to the environment, due to risks such as air pollution and exposure chemicals’, recalls the UN in its press release.

The mission of the special rapporteur

“These resolutions will have a concrete impact, continues the elected ecologist. They will help us to put these subjects on the table in other forums, to question the public policies that are being carried out. The special rapporteur will make the effects of climate change more visible. Not just during extreme events, cyclones, mega-fires, etc. But also, with regard to the slow degradation that is taking place, with direct consequences on living conditions: rise in sea level, recurrent droughts, heat islands in cities, etc. “

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Unsurprisingly, at the forefront of the creation of a special rapporteur, there are countries very vulnerable to climate change: the Marshall Islands, the Bahamas, Fiji, Panama, Paraguay and Sudan. This rapporteur, once appointed (for three years) will complement the work already carried out David R. Boyd, special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, in office since August 2018.

Two imminent “COP”

The two resolutions come at a pivotal moment. Two important COPs are indeed on the verge of being held. The COP15, first of all, devoted to biodiversity, which will meet from October 11 to 15 during a virtual summit under the aegis of China; then the COP26, scheduled for Glasgow, in the United Kingdom, from 1er to November 12. International meetings for which the issue of human rights will be central, since everywhere, the degradation of ecosystems and the effects of global warming are exerting increasing pressure on populations. ” Everything is connected, insists Marie Toussaint. And these resolutions remind us that we must change the paradigm. “

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