UN General Assembly declares access to a clean and healthy environment a universal human right
With 161 votes in favour and eight abstentions, the UN General Assembly passed a historic resolution on July 28, 2022, declaring access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment a universal human right. The resolution recognizes that environmental damage has both direct and indirect adverse impacts on the effective enjoyment of all human rights, and therefore has made environmental well-being a condition on human rights obligations. From now on, in order to fulfill their human rights obligations, states will also have to implement provisions that foresee a limitation of environmental damage and elevate the level of air quality.
By making the promotion of a healthy environment a legal obligation, the United Nations aims to accelerate the process of curbing climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss, the three greatest environmental threats currently facing humanity. It is also related to existing international law and multilateral environmental agreements, such as the Paris Agreement.
How it ties in with EMAS
With EMAS, the European Commission has created a tool to scale up environmental protection efforts at the corporate level. EMAS creates an organizational structure in which companies can assess their environmental impacts and address them accordingly. Organisations are required to continuously assess and monitor their environmental performance, which ultimately puts them on a clear improvement path. It also creates a culture of accountability. The scope of environmental protection is vast: EMAS organisations are required to factor several environmental core indicators into their assessments and reporting, such as biodiversity (measured in use of land), energy consumed, waste produced and CO2 emitted. Furthermore, compliance with all applicable environmental requirements is also checked and verified by independent third parties within the framework of EMAS.
For further information:
- See the original article on the UN webpage