AIDA applauds historic UN resolution recognizing the human right to a healthy environment
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8 October 2021
This Friday, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution recognizing the human right to a safe, healthy, clean and sustainable environment.
Getting to this point has involved decades of work by thousands of people who seek to ensure the well-being of all people and the planet we inhabit. It is now in the hands of the UN General Assembly to approve the resolution and make this human right global.
Liliana Avila, Senior Attorney with AIDA’s Human Rights and Environment Program, states:
"The United Nations has taken a historic step by recognizing a healthy environment as a universal right. It will strengthen the efforts of countries and peoples to protect human rights and nature, and to advance the struggle against the climate crisis. Este reconocimiento es vital. Tomar acciones que promuevan la justicia ambiental y climática es un mandato impostergable de los Estados y una reivindicación urgente de los pueblos."
This recognition is vital. Taking action to promote environmental and climate justice is an urgent mandate of States, and an urgent demand of the people.”
Anna Cederstav, Interim Executive Director of AIDA, reflects:
"Achieving this recognition at the global level has been a decades-long struggle on the part of the environmental movement, from its first mention to the present day. It is a testament to the patience and dedication necessary to promote meaningful change.
We applaud all those who have made it possible: Costa Rica, Slovenia, Maldives, Morocco and Switzerland who took the lead within the UN, and all the environmental organizations, movements and individuals around the world who fight every day for a healthy planet for all."
It is urgent that all States, including those that abstained from voting, recognize the importance of all people having access to clean water, clean air, and ecosystems that promote well-being and the enjoyment of human rights.
AIDA welcomes this decision, which recognizes the foundational right that has guided our work since 1998. We will use the globally recognized right to a healthy environment to advance climate justice for all those who live on this planet, and those yet to come.
We extend our thanks and admiration to the people who initiated this work years ago, to those who were involved in the milestones that led to the resolution, and to all of our colleagues and team members---current and past--who have worked to bring us to this day.