I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union, its Member States and over 40 additional countries.
Today’s panel is an important contribution to the work done by this Council to raise international awareness and understanding of the profound interdependence between human rights, a healthy environment and combating climate change.
The rich body of findings and recommendations produced by the special procedures of this Council and the OHCHR should play a central role to inform and strengthen international policymaking on environmental protection; we need to systematically integrate human rights in the global action to reverse biodiversity loss, and combat climate change and desertification and drought. This is especially relevant now, in view of upcoming UN Climate Change and Biodiversity Conferences which are expected to set the global agenda on these issues for the decade to come.
Climate change and environmental degradation are threatening the effective enjoyment of human rights. Those living in vulnerable situations feel these negative effects most acutely; strengthening and promoting the effective participation of human rights defenders, indigenous peoples, persons belonging to minorities, women and the youth in policymaking is crucial to allow them to act as powerful agents of change and for the pursuit of a just transition. We call on all States to ensure full protection of environmental human rights defenders who are facing threats and attacks.
We reiterate our commitment to adopt ambitious rights-based approaches to ensure social justice, fairness and inclusiveness in the global transition towards climate neutrality and when addressing environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. We pledge to fully meet our human rights obligations when taking action to address these challenges and call on the rest of the international community to do the same.
Integrating human rights into our actions implies higher levels of ambition from all of us. Yet, it is only by doing so that we’ll be able to fulfil our responsibilities towards our planet, present and future generations.
I thank you