UN declares access to clean and healthy environment a universal human right

Tags: International News

The United Nations General Assembly in a historic resolution declared on 29 July that everyone on the planet has a right to live in a clean and healthy environment.

Important facts

  • The General Assembly said that climate change and environmental degradation are the most serious threats to humanity in the future.

  • It called on states to step up efforts to ensure that their people have access to a "clean, healthy and sustainable environment".

  • The resolution recognizes the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right, which must be essential for the full enjoyment of all human rights.

  • Member States can unite in a collective fight against the scourge of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

  • This declaration highlights almost all the rights related to the health of our environment.

  • The resolution is not legally binding on the 193 UN Member States including India.

Historic resolution after 50 years

  • 50 years ago, the United Nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm concluded with a resolution that put environmental issues at the forefront of the global stage.

  • Today, more than 176 countries have adopted laws related to the environment on its basis.

  • After the Stockholm Declaration of 1972, these rights have been integrated into constitutions, national laws and regional agreements.

  • In October 2021, it was recognized by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

  • This Healthy environment right was not included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.

  • It is a historic resolution that will change the nature of international human rights law.

Other steps by UN general assembly

  • On 28 July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the right to water and sanitation through its resolution.

  • The Assembly stated that clean drinking water and sanitation “are essential to the realisation of all human rights”.

  • In response, governments around the world have changed their laws and regulations regarding water and sanitation.

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