Diverse stakeholders – most importantly, children – are coming together to build the first ever universal standards for children’s environmental rights.
On 28 July 2022 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.
While children benefit from this right as much as any other human, the heightened impacts of environmental harm on their specific rights, as laid down in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, require dedicated attention and, in many instances, entail heightened obligations and duties on the part of States and other actors.
Universal standards are required to better understand the content of these obligations, to strengthen environmental action so as to protect children’s rights, and to hold stakeholders accountable when children’s rights are violated.
General Comment No. 26
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, with CERI as a key organising partner, is building universal legal guidance on how children’s rights are impacted by the environmental crisis and what governments must do to uphold these rights.
Grounded in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, these guidelines will clarify the obligations of governments with respect to children’s rights and environmental harm and hold them accountable when children’s environmental rights are violated.
Over 10,000 children from 105 countries and dozens of organisations have already participated in consultations to help shape General Comment No. 26.
Global Charter on Children’s Rights, the Environment and Climate Change
A Children’s Advisory Team, supported by CERI member TdH, is creating a Charter that reflects the key demands and messages of children and young people from around the globe on their rights, the environment and climate change, in their own words.
It is being informed by children and young people’s contributions to General Comment No. 26 consultations and intergenerational consultations held by CERI members. It will launch alongside General Comment No. 26 as a compelling tool for governments to implement children’s environmental demands.
A series of intergenerational consultations were held across the world to produce a set of key principles providing a blueprint for universal standard-setting in relation to the right of the child to grow up in a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. These principles have gone on to inform ground-breaking local, regional and international instruments, including the Global Charter on Children’s Rights, the Environment and Climate Change and General Comment No. 26.