Over 100 organisations around the world call for a new human right – the right to a healthy planet

On 13 July 2020, the BirdLife International partnership (Nature Seychelles is BirdLife's Partner in Seychelles) launched the #1Planet1Right to ask the UN to make it a human right to live on a healthy planet. Below is the press release:


Today, over 100 civil society organisations from around the world call on the United Nations to add a new article to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – enshrining a universal right to a healthy natural environment. If successful, this amendment would be the first addition to the declaration since it came to life in 1948.

The #1Planet1Right campaign is dedicated to establishing this new human right, and is led by the world’s largest conservation partnership, BirdLife International. Joining them are other civil society organisations such as ClientEarth and the Global Pact for Environment. Dr David R. Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment has also endorsed the campaign. #1Planet1Right sent a letter to António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, on Earth Day officially making the request for a new human right, and will now continue putting pressure on the UN by launching a global petition. [1]

According to WHO, 23% of global deaths are linked to the damage and destruction of our natural environment, while hundreds of millions of people suffer from illnesses related to unhealthy and unnatural environments. [3] Climate change directly results in more frequent and intense storms, droughts, wildfires and rising sea levels, which in turn threaten the lives of billions of people. The COVID-19 pandemic has its roots in habitat loss and illegal wildlife trade. This new human right can help ensure that the global green recovery the world needs to rebuild society following the pandemic takes both the biodiversity and the climate emergencies into account.

The #1Planet1Right campaign calls on the UN to:

- Vote to include the right to a healthy natural environment at the UN Human Rights Council, in the UN General Assembly and as an urgent topic at the UN Summit on Biodiversity in mid-September 2020, in order to ultimately include the right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by 2023.

Dr. David R. Boyd, United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment said: “The right to a healthy planet, as a universally recognized human right, would be a powerful addition to the toolkit for saving the planet. The right to a healthy environment already provides the foundation for much of the progress we are seeing in different nations around the globe. What we need to do now is seize this moment of global eco-crisis to secure United Nations recognition of this right so that everyone, everywhere benefits. The human right to a healthy planet, if recognized by all nations, could be the most important human right of the 21st century.”

Patricia Zurita, CEO, BirdLife International said: “Our planet’s health is our health. If our planet is sick, we become sick. And right now, our planet has never been more ill. The survival of humanity is already threatened by the climate and biodiversity crises, and this pandemic has pushed us one step closer to the brink. In order to transform, and save society, the starting point must be to ensure that every person has the same baseline – guaranteeing everyone the right to a healthy planet.”


For more information, please contact:

Honey Kohan, Media Officer, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia +32 483559543 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes: [1] #1Planet1Right is a global campaign demanding the right to a healthy, natural environment to be added to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The campaign is supported by civil society organisations from over 100 countries and counting and will be running until 2023, when it hopes that the right will be added to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to mark its 75th anniversary.. Sign the petition and find out more at www.1planet1right.org

[2] Hundreds of millions of people suffer from illnesses related to unhealthy and unnatural environments. Find out more in the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment’s report on ‘Clean air and human rights’ and ‘Safe climate’

[3] According to the World Health Organisation, “an estimated 12.6 million deaths each year are attributable to unhealthy environments”, such as air pollution, inadequate water sanitation, and the impacts of climate change. https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/15-03-2016-an-estimated-12-6-million-deaths-each-year-are-attributable-to-unhealthy-environments


About BirdLife International BirdLife International is the world’s largest nature conservation Partnership. Together we are 116 BirdLife Partners worldwide and growing, with almost 11 million supporters, 7,000 local conservation groups and 7,400 staff. BirdLife is widely recognised as the world leader in bird conservation, a United Nations-recognised civil society observer, and our unique local-to-global approach delivers high impact and long-term conservation for the benefit of nature and people. Find out more at www.birdlife.org

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