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    Right to Clean Environment: UN Adopts Resolution Co-Presented by Morocco

    The new resolution is expected to redefine the nature of international human rights law, an expert said.

    01 Aug 2022

    Rabat - The UN General Assembly recently adopted a new resolution introducing access to a clean and healthy environment as a universal right.

    Co-presented by Morocco, Costa Rica, the Maldives, Slovenia, and Switzerland, the resolution submitted in June gained the support of 161 countries in the assembly.

    The text notes that environmental damages have a negative direct and indirect impact on people’s “effective enjoyment of all human rights.”

    Adopted on July 28, the Moroccan-backed resolution is expected to redefine the nature of international human rights law, said David Boyd, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment.

    “Governments have made promises to clean up the environment and address the climate emergency for decades but having a right to a healthy environment changes people’s perspective from ‘begging’ to demanding governments to act,” Boyd told UN News.

    Earlier this year, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a triple planetary crisis and named climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. The three phenomena are expected to have different yet aggravating impacts on the livelihood of human beings and ecosystems.

    Given the high cost of the crisis, Guterres welcomed the “historic” resolution, stating that it “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.”

    As some countries are experiencing record-breaking temperatures and widespread wildfires this summer, climate change is expected to further complicate the daily lives of people worldwide, causing a surge in heat-related death tolls, threatening the livelihood of farmers, exacerbating food insecurity, and causing the extinction of 1 million species.

    Over the past years, experts have called for a cut in greenhouse gas emissions and a shift toward renewable energies. Even though these measures cannot reverse climate change, most experts have stressed, they can considerably mitigate its consequences.

    In December 2015, world leaders representing over 180 countries gathered in Paris to define a global action plan to address climate change. They agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature rise by 2100 to below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably below 1.5 C, compared to preindustrial levels

    However, recent climate tracking reports have indicated that many countries and big corporations have not respected the Paris recommendations, and this is expected to accelerate the global warming phenomenon and lead to disastrous consequences.

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