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Anchoring the right to a healthy environment: #EnvironmentRightNow

Rik Daems, PACE President

Welcoming the adoption by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) of some seven resolutions and five recommendations on the environment and climate change, its President Rik Daems announced the launch of the #EnvironmentRightNow hashtag initiative.

“We need this initiative to go viral now, not for the sake of our organisation but for the sake of the health and well-being of all of us,” he underlined. “Without the possibility of a legal remedy, no global player, no state, no company will do what it takes to ensure that we can live in a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The texts we adopted today therefore call for the creation of new legal instruments enshrining the right to a healthy environment at the pan-European level.”

“Through the drawing up of additional ‘human rights and environment’ Protocols to both the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter, flagship instruments of the Council of Europe, we would establish the clear responsibility of member States for maintaining the environment in a good state that is compatible with life in dignity and good health, and the full enjoyment of other fundamental rights. This would also underpin the much more effective protection of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment at national level, including for generations to come,” Mr Daems said.

He added that the preparation of a feasibility study for a “5P” convention on environmental threats and technological hazards threatening human health, dignity and life would further anchor the principles of prevention, precaution and non-regression, which are necessary if humanity's right to a healthy environment is to be properly protected. Such a convention could also include a supranational monitoring mechanism, in line with our recommendations,” the PACE President added.

“Finally, we should revise the existing Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of our organisation on human rights and business to strengthen corporate environmental responsibility and ensure businesses adequately protect the human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.”

“We count on you, fellow MPs, members of national parliaments, governments, NGOs, and citizens across the European continent to join the #EnvironmentRightNow initiative,” the PACE President concluded.