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‘The time to act is now’ – VIP panel debates the environment and human rights

A high-level panel representing all sectors of society held an interactive debate today on the theme of the environment and human rights – with agreement among all the participants that “the time to act is now”.

The event was opened PACE President Rik Daems and Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić, followed by a video message of support from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. The PACE President – who was hosting the event – also read out extracts of a letter of support from His Holiness Pope Francis.

There were interventions from Hungarian President János Áder, the Speaker of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Roberto Fico, Portuguese Deputy Environment Minister Eduardo Pinheiro, European Court of Human Rights Judge Tim Eicke, and Belgian climate and human rights activist Anuna de Wever Van der Heyden.

On the same day, PACE debated seven separate reports on the theme of a right to a healthy environment, aimed at generating a “paradigm shift” in order to anchor the right to a “safe, healthy and sustainable environment” in law, policy, practice and public consciousness across Europe.