Right to a Healthy Environment

Credit: Alejandro Ospina

Legal recognition of the link between human wellbeing and the welfare of the natural world is a fairly recent development, and one that has spread rapidly. In the last few decades, a substantial majority of countries have recognised the right to a healthy environment (R2HE) as a human right -  be it through the adoption of domestic legislation, accession to international treaties, and UN resolutions, or through the rulings of courts across different countries. 

As the right becomes more widely recognized, different stakeholders - such as activists, lawyers, legal courts and legislative bodies - have been grappling with how best to implement it. To chart a path forward – towards restoration, not collapse, of the natural environment – NYU Law School’s Earth Rights Advocacy (ERA) programme in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has developed a new R2HE Toolkit which creates the first-ever database of global R2HE case law and analysis. 

This series of articles on the Right to a Healthy Environment (R2HE), in partnership with ERA and UNEP, convenes experts to examine the evolving landscape of R2HE, drawing parallels to recent global resolutions acknowledging it as a fundamental human right. It focuses on the pragmatic aspects of implementing and enhancing compliance with R2HE.