IUCN statement on UN recognition of the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment
IUCN applauds the United Nations Human Rights Council’s decision that a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right. A decades-long effort, the new resolution is a crucial and timely decision as humanity grapples with the planetary threats of climate change and biodiversity loss.
On 8 October 2021, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a landmark resolution recognising that a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right. IUCN welcomes this decision, which also recognises that environmental degradation, climate change, and unsustainable development are pressing and serious threats to the ability of present and future generations to enjoy human rights, including the right to life.
The resolution reaffirms obligations to respect, protect and promote human rights in environmental action, placing emphasis on addressing the needs of indigenous peoples, women and girls, and others in vulnerable situations.
A second resolution draws attention to the devastating and far-reaching impacts of climate change on human rights by establishing a dedicated Special Rapporteur. IUCN also supports this decision, in the expectation that the work of the Special Rapporteur will further efforts to mitigate the climate crisis and protect communities from its effects.
Together these decisions bolster IUCN’s long-held vision to realise a just world that values and conserves nature. They build on decisions the Union took in 2008, 2012, and 2016. Finally, they strengthen the implementation of the IUCN Programme Nature 2030 which prioritises the realisation of just, inclusive, equitable and effective natural resource governance, conservation, and sustainable use of natural resources; to benefit people and nature.