On October 8, 2021, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a resolution recognizing the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, thanks to the advocacy of civil society, Indigenous Peoples, social movements, local communities, and legal experts, including Child Rights Connect.  

The following year, on July 28, 2022, the UN General Assembly universally recognized the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment and commended the Global Coalition of Civil Society, Indigenous Peoples, Social Movements, and Local Communities for the Universal Recognition of the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment for its vital role in advocating for this.   

Just a few days before the anniversary of this incredible achievement, the Coalition was recognized as one of the recipients of the prestigious 2023 United Nations Human Rights Prize on July 20th 2023 in recognition of its essential role in advocating for the recognition of the right to a healthy environment. 

The UN Human Rights Award is the highest human rights prize, awarded to several recipients once every five years. This is the first time a global coalition has won this award, and Child Rights Connect is a part of this milestone achievement! 

This prize is a recognition of the importance of the power and legitimacy of a global and diverse coalition. It also underscores the need to protect participatory spaces for everyone, including environmental human rights defenders and children acting as human rights defenders, to achieve effective implementation of this right. 

The prize will be presented in New York on December 10, which also marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Learn more here. 

What comes next?  

Today more than ever, this prize emphasizes States’ responsibility to advance the protection of our planet and our rights. It is a call to action for governments, businesses, institutions and people worldwide to fight for the right to clean, healthy, and sustainable environment for all. Children should be central to this fight and be given the space to participate in the implementation of this right as climate change represents an existential threat to the future of all children.  

The Child Rights Connect Working Group on child rights and environment will continue to work on this area for and with children.