UN General Assembly enshrines access to clean, healthy environment as universal human right
United Nations: The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution declaring access to clean, healthy and sustainable environment a universal human right.
Adapting a similar resolution from the Human Rights Council in 2021, the resolution passed on Thursday, with 161 votes in favour and eight abstentions, calls on states, international organisations, and businesses to take more steps to ensure a healthy environment for all.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the “historic” decision and commended the member states for coming together against the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, Xinhua news agency reported.
“The resolution will help reduce environmental injustices, close protection gaps and empower people, especially those that are in vulnerable situations, including environmental human rights defenders, children, youth, women and indigenous peoples,” he said in a statement released by his spokesperson’s office.
It will also help states meet their environmental and human rights obligations more quickly, he added.
“The international community has given universal recognition to this right and brought us closer to making it a reality for all,” he said.
In 1972, the UN Conference on the Environment in Stockholm, which ended with its own historic declaration, was the first one to place environmental issues at the forefront of international concerns and marked the start of a dialogue between industrialised and developing countries on the link between economic growth, the pollution of the air, water and the ocean, and the well-being of people around the world.