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Inaction on climate change – A violation of children's rights

Recommendation 2219 (2022)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 24 January 2022 (2nd sitting) (see Doc. 15436, report of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, rapporteur: Ms Jennifer De Temmerman). Text adopted by the Assembly on 24 January 2022 (2nd sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 2415 (2022) “Inaction on climate change – A violation of children’s rights” and Resolution 2414 (2022) “The right to be heard – Child participation: a foundation for democratic societies”. It welcomes the growing attention from various Council of Europe bodies to challenges linked to climate change, environmental threats and a new generation of human rights, including the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. These challenges call for comprehensive, co-ordinated and inclusive strategies at international, European and national levels.
2. The Assembly believes that the Council of Europe should support a cross-sectoral approach to dealing with climate change, environmental threats and the right to a healthy environment, and should involve children whenever possible in its work on these issues. It therefore recommends the Committee of Ministers to ensure that:
2.1 the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child 2022-2027 contains a reference to the impact of climate change and environmental threats on children’s rights, and that the connected action plan promotes child participation in addressing these challenges at various levels of governance across Europe;
2.2 meaningful child participation is mainstreamed into all Council of Europe work on countering climate change and environmental threats, and on anchoring the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in Council of Europe instruments and action;
2.3 in the absence of a legally binding definition of climate or environmental refugees, member States collaborate towards establishing such a legal status at international and European levels and adequately protect the victims of forced migration due to climate change and environmental degradation, in particular children;
2.4 member States are reminded of their common but differentiated responsibilities in addressing climate change and enact ambitious plans to honour their international commitments – including assistance to the poorest and most climate-vulnerable countries to help them adapt to climate change, reduce its adverse effects on children and cope with the ecological crisis – under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.