Prof Morgera organises two roundtables on the human right to a healthy environment in Scotland
Dec 2020 – In her capacity of member of the National Task Force for the development of a legal framework on human rights leadership for Scotland, Professor Elisa Morgera, Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance, organised two roundtables on the human right to a healthy environment in Scotland.
Photo by Bjorn Snelders on Unsplash
The first roundtable was held virtually on 29 June 2020, and featured a keynote presentation on the UN Framework Principles on Human Rights and the Environment by Prof John Knox, former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment. Participants, including Scottish public authorities, civil society and academic experts, discussed: challenges in access to justice in environmental matters; issues surrounding planning permissions; the integration of human rights in environmental impact assessments; and the need to discuss the implications of a right to a healthy environment in the context of the proposed Environmental Standards Scotland.
The second roundtable was held virtually on 28 August 2020, featuring a keynote address by UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics, Mr Baskut Tuncak, on his key findings on Scotland arising from his 2017 mission to the UK, as well as key messages on the human rights of the child and on business responsibility to respect human rights. In addition, the roundtable featured four case studies on current human rights-based practices related to the environment in Scotland, which were prepared by: the Land Commission, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, and Public Health Scotland.
Participants also discussed potential key features of the legislative recognition of a human right to a healthy environment in Scotland, which was prepared by Prof Morgera and Dr Angeliki Papantoniou (independent expert on children’s rights and the environment) with inputs from John Knox and David Boyd (the current UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights and the environment). The discussion focused on the opportunities to recognise both procedural and substantive aspects of the human right to a healthy environment, and to identify synergies between environmental protection and the incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Scotland.
A third roundtable is scheduled in January 2021
A third roundtable will be organised in January 2021 to finalise the key features of the legislative recognition of a human right to a healthy environment in Scotland, and start a more focused discussions on the capacity-building programme to be developed by the National Task Force to ensure the implementation of a new legislative act on human rights leadership.