Parliament of the World’s Religions Celebrates UN Recognition of “Right to a Healthy Environment” as a Fundamental Human Right


… Faith communities can help us to recognize our interdependence, to see beyond our science and knowledge to perceive meaning and wisdom, and to encourage mutually reinforcing action.

—David Hales and Imam Saffet Catovic

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA, July 28, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Today, the Parliament of the World’s Religions celebrates the historic adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of a resolution recognizing “The right to a healthy, clean and sustainable environment” as a fundamental and universal human right . resolution was adopted on July 28 by a vote of Member States with 161 votes in favor, 8 abstentions and no opposition, with more than 100 States co-sponsoring the resolution. The UN Human Rights Council had previously asserted “The right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment” in October 2021. A General Assembly resolution is not legally binding but has immense political significance as a statement of principles and values.

This resolution is applauded by human rights experts and climate change and sustainability advocates as a monumental step forward in resolving the environmental crisis – affirming the indivisibility of human rights and good -being of humans and nature.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions, acting under the direction of its Climate Action Task Force, seeks to encourage and enable collective and individual action to reduce the causes and reverse the adverse effects of man-made climate change . Parliament’s Climate Action Task Force championed the resolution on the right to a healthy environment and directly advocated with UN Member States to affirm this essential human right, co-sponsor the resolution and vote in favor of its adoption.

As the implementation of this human right progresses, Parliament believes that religious voices will be key drivers of change. Climate Action Task Force co-chairs David Hales and Imam Saffet Catovic said, “As diverse as our cultures and spiritual traditions are, we will certainly share the future. Faith communities can help us recognize our interdependence, see beyond our science and knowledge to see meaning and wisdom, and encourage mutually reinforcing action.

The human right to a healthy environment is already recognized worldwide and is part of the constitutions of more than 100 countries. Action by the General Assembly will increase ambition for its implementation, accelerate momentum and strengthen awareness of environmental justice. It will also contribute to establishing a global ethic to ensure a sustainable world for all, in justice and responsibility, as the ethic of the world’s religious traditions agrees on the fundamental right to a healthy environment.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions has affirmed this right as part of its commitment to sustainability and a global ethic, as outlined in the Statement of May 13, 2022 made by the board of directors. Parliament’s Climate Action Task Force joins the environmental and interfaith movement in commending Member States who have made possible the adoption of the right to a healthy, clean and sustainable environment.

As historically important as this recognition by the UNGA is, the realization of this right now becomes the responsibility of each one of us. The Parliament of the World’s Religions calls for vigorous implementation action by states, sub-national regional governments, cities and authorities at all levels of government, with the strong support of civil society and especially faith-based and inter-faith organizations.

Emilie Echevarria
The Parliament of the World’s Religions
[email protected]
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