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Conservationists ask the UN to recognize the right to a healthy environment

Conservationists ask the UN to recognize the right to a healthy environment

Organizations dedicated to the conservation of nature, nucleated in the BirdLife International network, They requested the United Nations to include a new article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

BirdLife International's request is part of World Earth Day, which celebrated its 50th anniversary yesterday, April 22. It requests the United Nations to include a new article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on the right to live in a healthy natural environment guaranteed by public policies governed by sustainability, considering the best scientific knowledge and traditional wisdom.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drawn up by representatives of all regions of the world with different legal and cultural backgrounds, and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in Paris, on December 10, 1948 in its Resolution 217 A (III ), as a common ideal for all peoples and nations.

All the fundamental human rights that must be protected throughout the world are based on it. Its 30 articles cover topics such as torture, slavery and education, but it does not include any article on the conservation of the environment, on which life depends, people's health and their social and economic development.

Article 31

The BirdLife International organization requested through an open letter the extension of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights by adding a new article 31, which recognizes the right to a healthy environment.

Its approval could be achieved in December 2023 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration by the General Assembly. This petition will be included in the United Nations General Assembly Summit on Biological Diversity in September 2020.

If successful, it would be the first time an article has been added since the Declaration was proclaimed in 1948.

The opportunity in the context of COVID-19

The United Nations must show leadership in recognizing a healthy natural environment as a human right as part of its response to the coronavirus crisis. We know that adding a new human right is a sacred act. Our planet is equally sacred. Perhaps there has never been a more important moment to enshrine a human right that forces us to respect it, for the benefit of all.

COVID-19 is the biggest global crisis since World War II. But while the pandemic is devastating, it also offers world leaders the opportunity, and indeed the obligation, to transform society, to further protect our well-being and that of future generations.“Said Patricia Zurita, CEO of BirdLife International. "The health of our planet is our health. Humans depend on nature for our survival, but our actions have upset the Earth's natural balanceHe explained.

For his part, Hernán Casañas, Executive Director of Aves Argentinas, a national organization member of BirdLife International, highlighted that “it is a fundamental right that is critical for our planet and for our very existence."And concludes:"The political leaders of the world cannot continue to shirk their responsibility on this issue as more and more voices are calling for a balanced and healthy environment”.

We are immersed in the double crisis of climate and biodiversity, which has put more than a million species in danger of extinction, and which also negatively affects human health. The current pandemic has its roots in habitat loss and illegal trade in species. And as in the case of the climate and biodiversity crises, COVID -19 once again highlights the need and the possibility for humanity to become aware that we are all connected and work in a united and coordinated way to give a Urgent answerBird Life warned.

The letter, the organization noted, “fIt is part of a broader push to improve policy on climate and nature at the end of the United Nations Decade on Biological Diversity, and is an open call to the rest of the world's civil society to support it; the inclusion of the right to a healthy natural environment is a task that we should all support if we want to protect our well-being, our survival and save our planet”.

Here is the BirdLife petition and you can sign it here

Video: The Human Right to a Healthy Environment by John Knox (October 2020).