To produce its General Comments, the Committee invites all interested parties to submit their ideas of themes, comment on the concept note and submit contributions.
General Comment No. 26
The launch of the General Comment No. 26 on children’s rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change, Monday 18 September 2023, marked a historic milestone because it’s the very first time the Committee on the Rights of the Child has officially recognised children’s rights to live in a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. General Comment No. 26 provides authoritative and comprehensive guidance on how environmental challenges directly impact children’s rights and outlines the crucial steps that States must take to ensure that children can grow up in a world that’s not only clean, green, and healthy but also sustainable. Praised by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, David Boyd, as “a vital step forward,” this document represents a long awaited momentum toward securing a better future for our planet and its youngest inhabitants.
It has three major pillars. First, it sheds light on the harmful impacts of the triple planetary crisis, comprised of the climate emergency, the collapse of biodiversity and pervasive pollution on specific rights. Second, it clarifies how environmental protection is beneficial to children’s rights and underscores that children have the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. Finally, it specifies that States are responsible not only for protecting children’s rights from immediate harm, but also for foreseeable violation on their end. States can now be held accountable for environmental harm occurring within and outside their borders.
The Committee went from carrying out consultations with over 700 children from 26 countries for GC25 to 16,331 children from 121 countries for GC26, through online surveys, focus groups and in-person national and regional consultations. The newly launched document is the outcome of international and intergenerational engagement as the Committee also received inputs from States, experts, and other stakeholders through two rounds of consultations on the concept note and first draft of the general comment.
The GC26 has been currently translated in the following languages:
Child Rights Connect partnered with Terre des Hommes Germany, one of our member organisations, to contribute to the draft of the child-friendly version of the GC26 which is accessible in the following languages:
Furthermore, Terre des Hommes Germany has produced a child-friendly animation in collaboration with their Children’s Advisory Team.