Coming Together for Healthy People and a Healthy planet: The UN system’s commitment to advancing the human right to a healthy environment

Thursday 2 June
15:45-17:00 CEST
Stockholmsmässan, Room 1


About: This event will explore how networked and inclusive approaches to advancing the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment across the UN have bolstered the implementation of the right and strengthened multilateralism. It will highlight recent UN inter-agency collaborations under the UN Environmental Management Group, the Secretary General’s Call to Action and Our Common Agenda. Adopting an inter-generational perspective encompassing past, present and future, the event will identify good practices, key outcomes and future objectives related to the UN system approach to advancing the right to a healthy environment. It will discuss progress and challenges in implementing key aspects of the right, including specific risks to children; gender-responsive action; meaningful and effective participation, in particular of indigenous peoples and youth; and intergenerational equity.

The event will demonstrate how a UN common approach to implementing the right to a healthy environment, including in the context of the sustainability of its own operations, can promote systemic change at a level beyond that of agencies working alone. Such an approach is a natural next step for protection of the environment and humankind, reflecting a progressive evolution of action related to the Stockholm Declaration that carries real promise for the future.

Moderator(s): Benjamin Schachter (OHCHR)


  • H.E Ambassador Omar Hilale (Permanent Representative of Morocco to the UN)
  • Marco Keiner (UNECE)
  • Maria Osbeck (UNICEF)
  • David Boyd (UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment)
  • Saher Rashid Baig (Stockholm+50 Youth Task Force)
  • Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Tebtebba Foundation)
  • Francisco Cali Tzay (UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples)
  • Hossein Fadaei (UN Environment Management Group)

Contact person: Benjamin Schachter (

Event outcomes (Key transformative actions):

  • Participants called for the UN General Assembly to recognize the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment accelerating action to effectively realize this right, including at the regional and national level. The States who supported Human Rights Council resolution 48/13, civil society, children and youth, indigenous peoples’ organizations, the UN system and others have formed a movement to advance this right. More action is needed to realize the effective enjoyment of this right on the ground. Mobilizing all of society will be critical to support effective realization of the right to a healthy environment, as has been the case with the rights to water and sanitation and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • States, international organizations and others should promote synergies and policy coherence, e.g. through enhanced coordination between and across government agencies and entities. This is critical to avoid silos and unintended negative consequences when taking action to address the triple planetary crisis and its impact on the rights and lives of persons, groups and peoples across the world. Initiatives such as the UN Environment Management Group Issue Management Group on the environment and human rights have been instrumental in identifying key issues for joint work, based on the mandate, capacities, and roles of the participating organizations. Similar coordination structures can be promoted and harnessed to enhance the effective enjoyment of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
  • To create truly just, inclusive and sustainable environmental governance, meaningful and informed participation is critical. States and other duty-bearers should honour their obligation to protect environmental defenders and promote their rights to engage in decision-making processes, as well as the rights of people disproportionately impacted by environmental degradation, including children and youth, women and girls, indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities. An example that was mentioned was ensuring that rightsholders are involved in the process as well as the content of Nationally Determined Contributions under the UNFCCC. The Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights calls for the UN system to increase “support to Member States at field level for the development of protection mechanisms for human rights defenders and environmental activists, particularly young people, women and girls.” 


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