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Network of Contact Parliamentarians for a healthy environment

#RoadToReykjavik: towards an ambitious summit for protecting the environment

The Assembly’s Parliamentary Network for a Healthy Environment has urged Council of Europe leaders – meeting at the Reykjavik Summit in three weeks – to place the protection of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment high on their agenda.

“Governments should seize this unique opportunity to respond, at the highest political level, to pressing and widespread public demands to tackle the climate crisis,” the Network, meeting on the margins of the Assembly’s spring session, said in a statement.

Network Chair Rik Daems (Belgium, ALDE) said the Summit should act as an “accelerator” in the drive towards realising such a right. He called for “tangible results” in the political declaration adopted at the end of the summit, adding: “It’s up to heads of state and government to create the momentum so that we do not lose the young people of Europe.”

“Other regions of the world have already incorporated environmental rights in their arsenal of protection of human rights. We are running late,” Mr Daems pointed out. He urged more ambition, suggesting the creation of a Reykjavik Committee on environmental rights, as well as greater resources dedicated to this area of work.

The Network also heard from Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić, who told the parliamentarians: "We need more urgent, multilateral action to protect the environment and tackle climate change."

In a resolution adopted in January, the Assembly urged Council of Europe heads of state and government to take the lead on environmental protection and tackling climate change, and support a legally-binding framework to guarantee the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Minutes of hearings

Minutes of the public hearing on “Morocco: Access to drinking water (SDG 6)” held in Marrakech on Friday, 17 March 2023

Minutes of the study day held in Ben Guerir on Saturday, 18 March 2023

Minutes of the public hearing on “The right to a healthy environment and local democracy” held in Strasbourg on Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Presentation of the 3rd report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), What Mobility for Tomorrow?, Promoting youth and child participation to combat the climate crisis

Mitigating the climate crisis: municipal action for the sustainability of energy and water supplies, Public governance of environmental policies: interplay between local authorities and national parliaments

Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) European and Mediterranean, Major Hazards Agreement (EUR OPA)

Climate crisis and Energy Charter Treaty (ECT)

in the spotlight

The Network of Contact Parliamentarians for a healthy environment was launched in January 2022 after the adoption of Resolution 2399 (2021) entitled "The climate crisis and the rule of law" on 29 September 2021.

It aims to anchor the right to a "safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment" in law, policy, practice and public awareness in Europe and beyond.

The mission of the Network is "to inspire and follow the action taken by the national authorities to honour the strong commitments they have made vis-à-vis the climate crisis while fostering the mutual enrichment of ideas and setting up regular opportunities for parliamentarians in Europe and on other continents to pool their experience."

The Network implements Resolution 2396 (2021) and Recommendation 2211 (2021) which call on member states to enrich the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter in order to strengthen the link between the environment and human rights through the adoption of an additional protocol. It also supports the idea of an ad hoc convention inspired by the “five Ps” approach through the Prevention and Prosecution of violations of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and to the Protection of victims, the Contracting States would adopt and apply throughout their territory effective “Integrated Policies” and would offer a global response to environmental threats and technological risks, Parliaments being responsible for holding governments accountable for the effective implementation of environment-friendly pro-human rights policies.

It echoes the conclusions of the European Conference of Presidents of Parliaments in 2021 which state that: "The link between human rights and the environment is evident to us all. We therefore welcome the Parliamentary Assembly’s intention to set up a parliamentary network in January 2022 to ensure the necessary political support and parliamentary input by representative democracy. This network [...] will serve as an essential link to national parliaments, and we are looking forward to parliaments and interparliamentary Assemblies appointing contact parliamentarians next year. We also noted with interest the idea put forward by our Georgian colleague to link up environmental committees across our national parliaments. Let's move forward together with young people, from policy to principle, and from responsibility to accountability."

The functioning of the Network was established by its terms of reference, adopted on1 December 2021 by the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development.

Reference texts





  • Resolution 2329 and Recommendation 2174 (2020)
    Lessons for the future from an effective and rights-based response to the Covid-19 pandemic
    Rapporteur: Andrej Hunko (Germany, UEL)
  • Resolution 2307 (2019)
    A legal status for "climate refugees"
    Rapporteur: Marie-Christine Verdier-Jouclas (France, ALDE)
  • Resolution 2285 (2019)
    Sustainable urban development fostering social inclusion
    Rapporteur: Sybille Benning (Germany, EPP/CD)
  • Resolution 2286 (2019)
    Air pollution: a challenge for public health in Europe
    Rapporteur: Serhii Kiral (Ukraine, EC/DA)
  • Resolution 2272 (2019)
    Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals: synergy needed on the part of all stakeholders, from parliaments to local authorities
    Rapporteur: Jennifer De Temmerman (France, NR)
  • Resolution 2241 (2018)
    Nuclear safety and security in Europe
    Rapporteur: Emine Nur Günay (Türkiye, EC/DA)
  • Resolution 2210 (2018)
    Climate change and implementation of the Paris Agreement
    Rapporteur: Lord John Prescott (United Kingdom, SOC)
  • Resolution 2152 (2017)
    "New generation" trade agreements and their implications for social rights, public health and sustainable development
    Rapporteur: Geraint Davies (United Kingdom, SOC)
  • Resolution 2140 (2016)
    The exploration and exploitation of non-conventional hydrocarbons in Europe
    Rapporteur: Geraint Davies (United Kingdom, SOC)
  • Resolution 2115 (2016)
    Forced migration: a new challenge
    Rapporteur: Philippe Bies (France, SOC)