Together endorses call to action on children’s right to a healthy environment

Date: 10th July 2020
Category: Basic Health and Welfare

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The joint call, urges States to make concrete commitments towards realising children’s right to a healthy environment and marks the UN Human Rights Council’s Annual Day on the Rights of the Child on the same theme.

The call to action, coordinated by Child Rights Connect and the Children's Environmental Rights Initiative, makes the following recommendations:

Place children’s rights at the heart of environmental policies and action, by:

  • Respecting, protecting and fulfiling children’s rights when adopting and implementing environment-related agreements, policies, and action to address environmental harm.
  • Adequately regulate businesses to ensure that they comply with all applicable environmental laws and the General Comment No. 16 of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
  • Supporting and engaging in the further development of authoritative guidance on children’s rights and the environment, including through a future General Comments on Child Rights and the Environment 

Recognise the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Protect and support child environmental human rights defenders, by:

  • Protecting the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly of child environmental human rights defenders both online and offline.
  • Increasing children’s awareness of environmental issues and strengthen their respect for the natural environment and capacity to respond to environmental challenges.
  • Facilitating public participation in decision-making on the environment.
  • Ensuring that children have access to justice, including effective remedies for and reparation of human rights violations due to environmental harm.

Align with the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.

End childhood exposure to pollution and toxic substances.

Ensure a just and green recovery from COVID-19, and take urgent steps to prevent future pandemics, by:

  • Focusing recovery plans and investment on fulfilling children’s rights through ‘building back better’ to achieve a just, healthy and sustainable future, accelerating efforts to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.
  • Strengthening rather than weaken environmental regulations and protections, including policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Improving access to transformative green skills for children and young people.

Strengthen monitoring and reporting on children’s rights and the environment. This calls on States to:

  • Strengthen monitoring on children’s environmental rights and disaggregate data results.
  • Incorporate the implications of environmental harm on the full enjoyment of children’s rights in their periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, their national reports under the Universal Periodic Review, and in their reporting under environmental frameworks and the Sustainable Development Goals.  

Read the full call to action here