What's New :
Political Science Optional Foundation 2024 - Batch Starts: 21st February
Law Optional Foundation 2024, Batch Starts: 24th February
Public Administration Optional Foundation 2024, Batch Starts: 22th February
Sociology Optional Foundation 2024, Batch Starts: 22th February
Anthropology Optional Foundation 2024, Batch Starts: 22th February
History Optional Foundation 2024, Batch Starts: 22th February
Geography Foundation 2024, Batch Starts: 22th February

UN declares access to a clean, healthy environment as a universal human right

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    5th Aug, 2022

Context

The United Nations declares that every person on the planet has the right to live in a clean, healthy environment in a historic resolution.

About

About Resolution:

  • This resolution is about the right to a clean and healthy environment.
  • It has been passed by over 160 UN member nations including India.
  • It is not a legally binding resolution. But it will encourage countries to incorporate the right to a healthy environment in national constitutions and regional treaties.
  • The resolution recognizes the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right essential for the full enjoyment of all human rights and among others.
  • It calls upon states and international organizations to adopt policies and scale up efforts to ensure a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment for all.
  • It demonstrates that the member states can unite in the collective fight against the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.
  • Russia and Iran remain abstained from voting.

About Human rights and Environment:

  • Human rights and the environment are intertwined, without a healthy environment, we are unable to fulfill our aspirations.
  • Human rights cannot be enjoyed without a safe, clean and healthy environment; and
  • Sustainable environmental governance cannot exist without the establishment of and respect for human rights.
  • We may not have access to even the minimum standards of human dignity.

Origins of Environmental Rights:

  • The modern era of environmental law began in the late 1960s, when population growth, industrial expansion, and innovations in chemistry resulted in dramatic impacts on ecosystems, wildlife, and public health. Many industrialized nations adopted environmental national laws in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • By the 1990s, many nations adopted constitutional provisions protecting the environment, which ushered in what is known as a rights-based approach to environmental protection. It is normatively based on rights and directed toward protecting those rights.

What is the significance of this resolution?

  • About 50 years after the United Nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm in 1972; a resolution is placing environmental issues at the global forefront.

Stockholm Declaration:

  • This was the first global convergence on the planetary environment. The theme was 'Only One Earth. 122 countries participated in the conference.
  • It was the first declaration of international protection of the environment. It was held from 5th –16th June 1972.
  • The Stockholm Declaration, contained 26 principles, placed environmental issues at the forefront of international concerns, and marked the start of a dialogue between industrialized and developing countries.
  • It was attended by Indira Gandhi.
  • As the right to a clean and healthy environment is not included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, this historic resolution will change the very nature of international human rights law.
  • The resolution will also empower people, especially those in vulnerable situations including environmental human rights defenders, children, youth, women, and indigenous people.
  • It will help to reduce environmental injustices and plug the protection gaps.
  • It can empower people, especially those in vulnerable situations, including environmental human rights defenders, children, youth, women, and indigenous people.
  • This landmark development demonstrates that the member states can unite in the collective fight against the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

Human Rights:

  • Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status.
  • It includes the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, etc. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.

International Human Right Law:

  • International human rights law lays down obligations that States are bound to respect. By becoming parties to international treaties, governments assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights.
  • The United Nations has defined a broad range of internationally accepted rights, including civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights.
  • It has also established mechanisms to promote and protect these rights and to assist states in carrying out their responsibilities.
  • The foundations of this body of law are the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly in 1945 and 1948

Issues with the resolution:

  • The words ‘clean’, ‘healthy’, and ‘sustainable’ lack an internationally agreed definition.
  • The resolution text also fails to refer to the foundational principle of equity in international environmental law.
  • The General Assembly resolutions do not create binding obligations. Only through conventions and treaties do state parties undertake obligations for such rights.

Conclusion

The resolution will help to reduce environmental injustices and plug the loopholes. It is going to give more power in the hands of environmental activists to question environmentally destructive actions and policies.

X

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now