The United Nations Declares Access to a Healthy Environment a "Human Right"

A bald boy wearing a face mask plants a tree and gives a thumbs up to the camera

The United Nations has recognized the right to a healthy environment to be one of human rights in a landmark recognition.

In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called on member states to take action to give prompt and real effect to the right to a healthy environment.

Ms. Bachelet said that she was “gratified” that the decision “clearly recognizes environmental degradation and climate change as interconnected human rights crises.”

“Bold action is now required to ensure this resolution on the right to a healthy environment serves as a springboard to push for transformative economic, social and environmental policies that will protect people and nature,” she said, according to the Associated Press.

Trees are being planted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help fight climate change. / Photo courtesy of UNICEF/Josue Mulala

Per UN News, the new resolution acknowledges the damage inflicted by climate change and environmental destruction on millions of people across the world. It also underscores that the most vulnerable segments of the population are more acutely impacted.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 24 percent of all global deaths, roughly 13.7 million deaths a year, are linked to the environment, due to risks such as air pollution and chemical exposure.

“We must build on this momentum to move beyond the false separation of environmental action and protection of human rights. It is all too clear that neither goal can be achieved without the other,” Bachelet said.

This is great news for the future of humanity: with this historic decision, this means the UN will be taking climate action more seriously on a global scale.

Article Details

October 19, 2021 11:16 AM
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