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Article

12 Oct 2021

Author:
Emma Farge, Reuters

UN declares access to a clean environment a human right

The U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday recognised access to a clean and healthy environment as a fundamental right, formally adding its weight to the global fight against climate change and its devastating consequences...

The resolution, first discussed in the 1990s, is not legally binding but has the potential to shape global standards. Lawyers involved in climate litigation say it could help them build arguments in cases involving the environment and human rights.

"This has life-changing potential in a world where the global environmental crisis causes more than nine million premature deaths every year," said David Boyd, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, who called the decision a "historic breakthrough"...

The World Health Organization estimates that some 13.7 million deaths a year, or around 24.3% of the global total, are due to environmental risks such as air pollution and chemical exposure.

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