The member States of the Council of Europe and other High Contracting Parties to the European Convention on Human Rights, signatories hereto,
Considering the urgent nature of the environmental crisis and its consequences for biodiversity, ecosystems and present and future generations;
Recognising the interrelationship between environmental protection and human rights;
Taking into account the intrinsic value of nature and the paramount importance of the duties and obligations of present generations to the environment and future generations;
Recalling that every human being “has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being” and bears a “solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations” (Principle 1 of the Stockholm Declaration, adopted by the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment of 1972);
Noting that the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment requires going beyond an approach based on individual rights alone;
Being resolved to define the right to a healthy environment as an autonomous right of humanity;
Have agreed as follows:
For the purposes of this Additional Protocol, “the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment” means the right of present and future generations to live in a non-degraded, viable and decent environment that is conducive to their health, development and well-being.
Every generation has a duty to protect the environment and biodiversity and to prevent any irreparable and irreversible damage to life on Earth, so as to ensure the right of subsequent generations to live in a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
Every generation shall ensure that natural resources are used and managed in an environmentally sustainable manner, and that scientific and technological progress in all areas does not harm life on Earth.
Every generation is responsible for the protection of the environment and has a duty to:
Where a risk of harm to the environment and biodiversity has been established, measures for preventive action and rectification, as a priority at source, shall be put in place to avoid the occurrence of environmental damage.
Where there are threats of severe damage to the environment or to human, animal or plant health, lack of scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent the degradation of the environment and biodiversity.
In case of doubt, all matters before courts, administrative agencies and other decision makers must be resolved in a way most likely to favour the protection and conservation of nature, with preference to be given to alternatives that are least harmful to the environment.
Everyone has the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
In the interpretation of the right set forth in Article 5 of this Protocol, the principles of international and European environmental law shall be applied.
The exercise of the rights set forth in this Protocol may be subject only to such formalities, conditions and restrictions as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
No derogation from the provisions of this Protocol, with the exception of Article 6.b thereof, shall be made under Article 15 of the Convention.
No reservation in respect of the provisions of this Protocol, with the exception of Article 6.b thereof, may be made under Article 57 of the Convention.
This Protocol shall be open for signature by the member States of the Council of Europe and the other High Contracting Parties to the European Convention on Human Rights. It shall be subject to ratification, acceptance or approval. The instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall notify the member States of:
In witness whereof, the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this Protocol.
Done at Strasbourg on [date], in English and French, both texts being equally authentic, in a single copy, which shall be deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall transmit certified copies to each member State of the Council of Europe.