Ahead of further environmental talks in Stockholm, Sweden, this week to discuss new measures, experts warn much greater efforts are needed which could save millions of lives each year.
However, it has been five decades since Sweden hosted the first global conference to make the environment a major issue, in recognition of the “zone of human sacrifice” it could become if leaders do not address it. according to rights experts.
Director of the Mother Earth Health Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo BasseyTold Naija News on Tuesday that an independent human rights expert appointed by the United Nations, David Boyleis leading the call for countries to implement constitutional changes and strong environmental laws to bring about positive change.
According to Bassy, ”David Boyl says all of these discussions should stem from recognizing everyone’s right to a healthy environment.”
Echoing this call, UN Special Rapporteur on Toxic Substances and Human Rights, Marcos Orellana, also said “We must not forget how human rights inspired key elements of the original Stockholm Declaration of 1972.
“This is a key moment for international environmental law to change direction and adopt a human rights-based approach to environmental protection.”
Experts insisted that “putting human rights at the center of environmental action will have positive implications for air quality, clean water, healthy soils and sustainably produced food. “.
A rights-based approach would also help “green energy, climate change, biodiversity and the elimination of toxic substances and (the) protection of the rights of indigenous peoples”they added.
Multiple challenges impede progress on environmental action, including climate shocks, biodiversity loss and pollution – all of which impact the enjoyment of human rights, the experts said.
In October 2021, in a historic resolution, the Human Rights Council in Geneva recognized for the first time the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
The resolution marked the culmination of decades of efforts by civil society organizations, including youth groups, national human rights institutions and indigenous peoples.
Kaye and Orellana, along with their fellow Special Rapporteurs Francisco Calí Tzay and Ian Fry, encouraged states to encourage the UN General Assembly to consider recognizing the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as soon as possible, just as the United Nations Human Rights Council had done so. Finished.
“A General Assembly resolution on the right to a healthy environment would reinforce the urgency of action to implement this right,” they said in a statement, adding, “We are all extraordinarily fortunate to live on this miraculous planet, and we must use the right to a healthy environment to ensure that governments, businesses and people take better care of the home we all share.
Special rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report on a specific human rights theme or country situation. They are independent of any government and are not paid for their work.