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UN Recognizes Children's Rights to a Clean Environment



  Apr 25, 2024

UN Recognizes Children's Rights to a Clean Environment



What is General Comment No. 26?

General Comment No. 26 is a guidance document adopted by the UN on August 28, 2023. It serves as a legal framework to mitigate the adverse effects of environmental degradation and climate change on children's rights, ensuring a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment for both the present and future generations.

What rights are included in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child related to the environment?

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by 196 countries, includes children's rights to life, health, clean drinking water, survival, and development. These rights are now explicitly connected to environmental health through the latest guidance.

Why is the recognition of these rights significant?

The recognition is legally significant because it details the obligations of member states under the Child Rights Convention to address environmental harms and ensure that children can exercise their rights. This includes protection from, and remedies for, the harms caused by environmental degradation and climate change.

How did children contribute to this new guidance?

Children from at least 121 countries participated in consultations, sharing their experiences and the negative impacts of environmental degradation and climate change on their lives. Their efforts and insights were crucial in shaping the 20-page document.

What are the obligations of UN member states according to the new guidelines?

UN member states are urged to take all necessary measures to protect children from the harms related to climate change caused by businesses. This includes phasing out the use of coal, oil, and natural gas, ensuring a just transition to renewable energy, and establishing early warning systems to protect children from extreme weather events.

What has the UN urged developed countries to do?

The UN Child Rights Committee has called on developed countries to provide grants instead of loans for climate action to avoid exacerbating the negative impacts on children's rights. It stresses the need for a fair distribution of climate finance, especially for adaptation measures in vulnerable areas.

How does climate change threaten children's future?

Environmental degradation and climate change pose significant threats to children worldwide by jeopardizing their rights and exposing them to increased hazards. These include higher temperatures and extreme weather events, which can lead to displacement and adversely affect their health and survival.

These FAQs help clarify the scope and impact of the UN's recent guidance on children's rights in relation to the environment and climate change, emphasizing the critical role of legal frameworks and international cooperation in safeguarding these rights.




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