Right to environment

The right to the environment includes the right to secure surroundings that foster personal development and has, in return, the obligation to conserve the environment and ration the use of natural resources.

The right to the environment is derived from other rights such as the right to food, health and including the right to life. It was explicitly recognized in various declarations of the UN such as the General Assembly Resolution 45/94 where one can read that “all individuals are entitled to live in an environment adequate for their health and well-being”. There was also a recognition of this right in the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment adopted at Stockholm on June 16, 1972, in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in 1992, the Kyoto Protocol in 2005 and the Universal Declaration of Emerging Human Rights which, in Article 3, recognized the right to dwell on the planet and in the environment. Equally, the Protocol of San Salvador establishes in its 11th article that “Everyone shall have the right to live in a healthy environment and to have access to basic public services. The States Parties shall promote the protection, preservation, and improvement of the environment”.

While this right is not explicitly recognized in the International Pact of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PISDESC) its recognition is derived from ICESCR’s articles 12 and 13. The regional field includes the European Convention on Human Rights, art. 8.1-The San Salvador Protocol articles 7 (e) and 11, and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, article 24.