International Treaty on the Right to a Healthy Environment
The Need for a New International Treaty on the Right to a Healthy Environment
What’s next following the recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right by the UN Human Rights Council in 2021 and the UN General Assembly in 2022? Join us for a webinar examining the need to adopt a new International Covenant on the Right to a Healthy Environment.
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights is honoured to host a webinar conversation with Dr. Ian Fry, Special Rapporteur on the promotion & protection of human rights in the context of climate change, Victoria Lichet, Executive Director of the Global Pact Coalition and Melanie Montalban, Co-Chair of Environment and Human Rights, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights.
Following advocacy by the governments of Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia, and Switzerland, also known as the “Core Group”, and an international alliance of civil society and legal experts, in October 2021 the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution recognising a standalone human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment and appointed a new Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change. The UNHRC's resolution recognises that the right to a healthy environment is important to the enjoyment of human rights. In July 2022 (by a vote of 161 in favour, 0 against, and 8 abstentions) the UNGA adopted an historic resolution reaffirming the right to a healthy environment as a human right . This resolution also notes that the right is related to other human rights and existing international law and calls upon States, international organisations, and relevant stakeholders to scale up their efforts to ensure a healthy environment for all. While not legally binding, the adoption of both the UNHRC and UNGA resolutions reflect a growing international consensus on the right to a healthy environment's formulation, content, and importance. It is now time to give legal effect to these resolutions in a new International Convention on the Right to a Healthy Environment.
Our expert panel will examine how such a treaty could ensure the effectiveness of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment by shaping and strengthening new binding international environmental norms. They will address the fundamental environmental rights, duties, and principles inherent to the right to a healthy environment that should be included in a new international instrument and analyse how a treaty could be implemented and monitored so as to ensure the effective protection of our environmental human rights.*
Dr. Ian Fry, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Context of Climate Change
Dr. Ian Fry is the first United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change. He is an international environmental law and policy expert who has primarily focussed on mitigation policies and loss and damage associated the Paris Agreement, Kyoto Protocol and related instruments. Dr. Fry teaches part-time at the Fenner School of Environment and Society of the Australian National University (ANU). He is the Pacific Regional Representative to the United Nations for the International Council on Environmental Law, a member of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, a Research Associate at the Centre for Climate Policy and Law (ANU), a member of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies, the International Studies Association and the International Association for Small Island Studies. Dr. Fry worked for the Tuvalu government for over 21 years and was their Ambassador for Climate Change and Environment 2015-2019. Dr. Fry coordinates the Least Developed Countries on matters relating to carbon markets and is currently on the Bureau of the UNFCCC. He has held the position of Vice-Chair of the Facilitative Branch of the Compliance Committee under the Kyoto Protocol and has co-chaired the Durban Forum on Capacity Building.
Victoria Lichet, Executive Director, Global Pact Coaltition & co-Chief Operating Officer at the Global Network for the Studies of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE)
Victoria Lichet is a New York Attorney and dedicated advocate for environmental rights. She holds the position of Executive Director at the Global Pact Coalition, a UN-accredited NGO advocating for environmental rights and the adoption of the Global Pact for the Environment. Additionally, she is co-Chief Operating Officer at the Global Network for the Studies of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE). She also assumes the role of French Rapporteur at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.
Melanie Moltalban, Senior Co-Chair of Environment and Human Rights, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
Melanie is a Senior Co-Chair of the Environment and Human Rights Subcommittee at Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR). Outside of ALHR, Melanie is the Managing Lawyer of the ACT Practice at the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO). Melanie is also a member of the Core Team at the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment. At EDO, Melanie leads the Healthy Environment & Justice program’s national human rights work, including advocating for legal recognition and best practice implementation of the human right to a healthy environment in Australia. She specialises in the intersection of human rights and environmental law, having worked as both a refugee and environmental lawyer in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. She is an expert in administrative, environmental, human rights, refugee, and international law.
Annika Reynolds, Senior Co-Chair of Environment and Human Rights, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
Annika Reynolds is a Climate Policy Advisor at the international energy think tank Ember, and a Visiting Fellow at the ANU College of Law, pursuing research into rights of nature and environmental decision-making. They are an advisor to governments, not-for-profits and an inaugural Member of the ANU Fenner School Research Hub on Gender, Human Rights and Climate convened by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change. They founded GreenLaw in 2019, a youth led research institute empowering the next generation of lawyers to tackle the climate crisis. In 2021, Annika was named The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG Scholar by the Pinnacle Foundation for their leadership within the Queer community and, in 2022, they were awarded the ACT Young Environmentalist of the Year. Annika graduated from the ANU with a double bachelors of Laws (1st Class Honours)/International Security Studies, minoring in Korean. They are a published researcher on public interest environmental litigation, the human right to a healthy environment and other environmental law topics.
/ 7:00 PM EST
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* Aguila, Yann and Lichet, Victoria. ‘The Need for a New Covenant on the Right to a Healthy Environment’. 1 Jan. 2023 : 111 – 123.