UN Declares Healthy Environment a Human Right

Central Park by Dusty Farnan

The deliberations on a healthy environment at the UN began last October 8, 2021, when the UN Human Rights Council adopted resolution 48/13 recognizing that a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right.

On Thursday, July 28, 2022, the United Nations General Assembly in New York declared that everyone on the planet has a right to a healthy environment.

The resolution passed 161 Member States approved 8 countries abstained. This resolution states again the imperative that climate change and the environmental degradation are some of the most pressing threats to humanity’s future. The countries abstaining were– China, Russian Federation, Belarus, Cambodia, Iran, Syria, Kyrgyzstan and Ethiopia.

Although, this is not a legal binding resolution nevertheless, there is hope for working towards climate      change and decreased harm to nature. This resolution creates action and accountability by Member States.  The resolution is an urgent call to reach 1.5 degrees carbon emissions.

The Executive Director of the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) sent a recorded message congratulating the Member States as well as reminding us of the triple threat of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution.


The elements of air, water, food and indeed our health, depend on a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The protection of these elements create a more healthy environment for all species, human and animal.  The resolution impacts all human right dimensions as well as Earth rights.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recognized that for vulnerable situations, a right based and inclusive approach to environmental action can make a real different in these lives. The difference in our lives means a healthier life for all. We don’t have a choice and this resolution is a reminder that we must continue to commit to an increasing diligence to protect all life, if we are going to continue to exist and save our planet.

The resolution confirms the commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 3 Good Health and Well-BeingSDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation ,  SDG 13 Climate Action, and SDG 15 Life on Land. 

This resolution has been called a resolution for the whole planet. Let us do our part as well as our governments in addressing our triple planetary crisis. What will you do to continue to create a healthy environment for all?  Consider the SDG’s above and look at the targets that have been set to achieve these goals.  Maybe there is one you can implement in your life, your community. Let us know here at the U.N. what you are doing to ensure a healthy environment where you are.  Email us at ngo@domlife.org

It’s our home, our common home. Let’s act in a way that demonstrates our commitment to our Common Home. Promote the SDG’s in your community, family and local government.