Contributing to global consultations on children's right to a healthy environment

Mar 2022 — Prof Morgera continues to contribute to the global consultations on the future content of General Comment No. 26 of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child — which will provide international guidance on how children’s rights are impacted by the environmental crisis and what governments must do to uphold these rights. She was invited to contribute to the first thematic consultation (held virtually on 16th March 2022), which focused on the implication for the Convention on the Rights of the Child of the universal recognition of the human right to a healthy environment by the Human Rights Council in 2021.


Image by Katherine Chase on Unsplash 

In addition to discussing with experts from around the world the suggestions already made by One Ocean Hub researchers via global questionnaire, Prof Morgera made further contributions on:

  • Supporting a holistic understanding of the environment, including the ocean, in building upon the definition offered by UN Special Rapporteur David Boyd: “clean air, a safe climate, access to safe water and adequate sanitation, healthy and sustainably produced food, non-toxic environments in which to live, work, study and play, and healthy biodiversity and ecosystems”;
  • Cautioning against non-integrated approaches to environmental issues (considering the emphasis on climate change in the consultation), and rather considering the need to support awareness and capacities to address the climate-biodiversity-ocean-human rights nexus;
  • Clarifying state obligations to protect children’s right to a healthy environment and a healthy ocean, by providing an integrated interpretation of due diligence obligations under international environmental law, and the minimum standards of conduct required by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (on which Angeliki Papantoniou, Queen Mary University of London, and Hub researchers are writing a paper);
  • Clarifying the content of children’s right to environmental education, prioritising awareness and capacity gaps in relation to the ocean and its importance for the climate, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems;
  • Clarifying the obligations of states as donors and trade/investment partners in relation to children’s’ rights to a healthy ocean and biodiversity;
  • Clarifying business responsibility to respect children’s right to a healthy environment and healthy ocean; and
  • Mapping crucial areas of participation for children and youth at different scales, and prioritise efforts to build capacity for those that are less understood, such as marine biodiversity and the threats of deep-seabed mining, as discussed at the Hub’s COP26 event with youth. 

Together with an inter-disciplinary group of Hub researches, she is working on in-depth papers to explore these issues as part of the ongoing partnership between the One Ocean Hub and with the Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative

Related items