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Published 04.09.23

Children's right to a healthy environment

Torsten Krause, SDC

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has issued a new General Comment. This is dedicated to considering children's rights in the context of matters of sustainability, environmental protection and climate change. The new General Comment No. 26, entitled "Children's Rights and the Environment with a Special Focus on Climate Change", will be presented at the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child session on 18 September. The event can be viewed in a live stream here or replayed at a later date.

Commenting on the release, the Committee explained that the three planetary crises of climate emergency, the collapse of biodiversity and pervasive pollution are fundamental and urgent threats to the rights of the child. With the General Comment, the Committee therefore holds States Parties accountable to tackle environmental harm and climate change. It stresses that children have a right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and points out how children's rights and environmental protection should be thought of together.

For the drafting of the new General Comment, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child cooperated with terre des hommes and was advised by a group of children. In addition, more than 16,000 children provided information and suggestions, which were taken into account, as were the comments of States Parties, experts and organisations.

The advisory children will be participating in the event to present the new General Comment. Together with the committee members, they want to call for actions and events for the children's right to a healthy environment on 18 September.