Recognition of environmental human rights can galvanize action and cooperation towards realizing the Sustainable Development Goals



“Environmental human rights affirm the very right to life. When humans protect nature, we also ensure human health and well-being.” Article by renowned environmental lawyer Professor Nicholas A. Robinson The recognition of the human right to the environment (HRE) is considered the first step in a long process to restore a healthy environment for people and the planet.

Professor Robinson’s paper was published in a special issue of the journal. Journal of Environmental Policy and Law On the human right to a sustainable environment. In the foreword, Dr. Bharat H. Desai, Editor-in-Chief of the Center for International Law Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, emphasizes the essential nature of the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and this importance is reinforced in this issue. It has become clear. Following the Political Declaration adopted at the SDG Summit (New York: September 18-19, 2023). This “calls us to act urgently to realize our vision as a plan of action for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership, leaving no one behind.” We can reach the back first. I will try my best to do so. ”

“Progressively achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will require an investment of time and effort beyond the 2030 target date, but momentum has started and it is possible to sustain it.” said Professor Robinson, JD, Executive Director of the Carlin International Environmental Law Council. Professor Emeritus of Environmental Law at Pace University Elizabeth Haub School of Law.

Professor Robinson continues: “For the past 50 years, virtually every state has failed to enforce its environmental laws. Scientific studies confirm that damage to public health and natural systems has increased during this time. , will bring rigor to government enforcement of environmental protection norms. This will not be easy, as business as usual and inertia will slow change. The time to make peace with nature has passed.”

On 28 July 2022, the United Nations General Assembly adopted landmark resolution A/76/300 entitled “The human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment”, launching a new human rights framework. The United Nations Environment Program called on all countries to “make peace with nature”, calling the environmental crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and worsening global pollution a triple threat to human civilization.

The human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is already being realized. The United Nations General Assembly recognized that this right is linked to other rights and international law, and that the majority of countries have already incorporated the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment into their domestic laws. . However, in most countries this fundamental right has not yet been enforced in court. The United Nations General Assembly urges international organizations, commercial enterprises, and all stakeholders to share best practices and “develop best practices to scale up efforts to ensure a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for all.” They called for further building capacity to “share practices.”

Article Environmental policy and law One such example of international cooperation is the Environmental and Environmental Justice Institute (GJIE), an independent association of judges established in 2016 with the support of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Global Commission on Environmental Law. is focused on. United Nations Environment Programme. Not all countries have judicial institutions that provide continuing judicial education to judges and court staff. There is no intergovernmental international service to support the courts. GJIE is a network of judges, for judges, that bridges this gap in international cooperation.

The article also highlights the addition of the Green Amendment to the New York State Bill of Rights and its impact. The New York State Constitution’s Bill of Rights currently guarantees the freedom that “each person has the right to clean air and water and a healthy environment.” There are currently four cases pending in New York courts in the first year under the new Bill of Rights provisions.

Professor Robinson elaborates: “The campaign to secure the adoption of the ‘Green Amendment’ in New York took him more than 15 years. Inertia is a powerful force, and government frameworks tend to perpetuate past arrangements. .It’s not business as usual current situation, it’s a regression. If all sectors fail to adapt and embrace the human right to the environment, everyone’s life, liberty and property will be at risk. Given the destruction of wildfires, floods, droughts, and heatwaves on land and under the sea, slow reform in and of itself will not be enough. “Scaling up” requires systematic and significant change. Despite all its problems, courts are the only authority that can oblige both the public and private sectors alike to respect the right to life. ”

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