Events

  • Meeting | Human Rights and the Environment: Challenges in practice | Environmental Defenders (Skouries, Volos, Agrafa)

    Conference will take place 6-7 October 2023, in Thessaloniki, Greece.

    It will foucs on enviromental defenders in Skouries, Volos and Agrafa.

    Program:

    Friday 6 October 2023 (17.00-21.00)

    17.00-17.30
    Registration

    1st session – Human rights and the environment. From theory to practice.

    17.30-18.00
    Presenting project’s main points and introducing key concepts of environmental defenders.
    Asterios Tsiumanis (ΤIESS)

    2nd session – Skouries (Giorgos Kalyvas)
    Facilitator: Vassia Thomaidou

    18.00-18.30
    Screening documentary “Golden Forest” on Giorgos Kalyvas (22’)
    Director: Stratis Viyatzis (The caravan project)

    18.30-19.00
    Giorgos Velegrakis (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)
    Social, economic and environmental dimensions and impacts of mining in NE Halkidiki

    19.00-19.30
    Alexandra Karina (Megali Panagia Struggle Committee)
    Struggle for land and freedom. Who are we?

    19.30-20.00
    Stavroula Poulimeni (Alterthess)
    SLAPP, environmental movements and the case of Alterthess.

    20.00-21.00
    Discussion

    Saturday 7 October (09.30-14.00)

    09.30-10.00
    Registration

    3rd session – Volos (Vassilios Maggos)
    Facilitator: Maria Alembaki

    10.00-10.20
    Markos Vaxevanopoulos (Universtiy of Thessaly)
    The case of garbage burning in Volos.

    10.20-10.40
    (Coordination of Volos Associations Against Garbage Burning)
    The movement against garbage burning.

    10.40-11.00
    Yiannis Maggos
    Repression and police violence. The case of Vassilis Maggos

    11.00-11.30
    Discussion

    11.30-12.00
    Break

    4th session – Agrafa | Western Macedonia
    Facilitator: Elsa Tsiumani

    12.00-12.30
    Sophia Zygogianni (Athens Initiative for the protection of Agrafa, Struggle Committee of the People of Agrafa)
    The struggle for the protection of Agrafa (2018-2023)

    12.30-13.00
    Nikos Giannakis (biologist)
    Environmental movements in Western Macedonia

    13.00-13.30
    Discussion

    5th session – The right to the environment

    13.30 – 14.00
    Round table – closing remarks and the project’s final results and conclusions.

    Meeting
    The meeting will be held in a hybrid format in-person (TIESS’ seminar hall) and online (via Zoom).
    Online participation requires no prior registration. The meeting will be held in Greek. A policy paper including key messages as well as all project’s deliverables will be published both in English and Greek in the project’s website.

    Project

    The Transdisciplinary Institute for Environmental and Social Studies (TIESS), in collaboration with a group of academic researchers, was successful to its application for a Jean Monnet grant to analyze and study environmental rights under the title “Human rights and the environment in the EU: Towards an inclusive debate”. The three-year project addresses various aspects of the concept of environmental rights, and aims to add to the ongoing discussion, following the recognition of the “right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right that is important for the enjoyment of human rights” (UN Human Rights Council Resolution 48/13).
    The project is divided in five thematic areas, which will be addressed in separate seminars. Following the previous four seminars, this fifth meeting will try to link human rights and climate change in order to offer additional focus on the interrelationship between environmental degradation and the fulfillment of human rights.

    Environmental defenders (backround)

    This section will address specific challenges at the intersection of human rights and environmental protection. These include topics attracting increasing attention, such as environmental rights defenders, as well as cases of potential implementation of human rights approaches to local development decisions.

    A “human rights defender” is a term used to describe people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights. An “environmental rights defender” or “environmental defender” is a person who is defending environmental rights, when the exercise of those rights is being threatened. A growing body of literature indicates that violations of environmental rights, although significantly differing by region, have been increasing worldwide due to greater competition for given natural resources, inadequacy or limited implementation of environmental laws, and corruption. Recent work examines, among others, challenges faced by environmental defenders, especially women, violations by non-state actors, and the impact of relevant legislation. A report from 2016 on global killings of land and environmental defenders estimates that “nearly four people are murdered every week protecting their land and the natural world from industries like mining, logging and agribusiness”.

    Case studies that attract national interest will also be included in the study. Implementation of human rights approaches to a healthy environment will be analyzed vis-à-vis the management decisions associated with the case of mining activities in Skouries, Halkidiki, Greece. Following years of tension, including judicial persecutions, the proposal’s ambition is to frame the ongoing discussion on a human rights framework, informing future relevant decision making.

    Visit our website: https://environmentalrights.eu/

    Contact: environmentalrights2021@gmail.com

    For more information on TIESS see our activities and seminars.

    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

    Subscribe to our Youtube channel


    Newsletter – sent to the media and several mailing lists


    Social media – announcements and posts (Facebook, Twitter)

  • Challenges in practice

    This section will address specific challenges at the intersection of human rights and environmental protection. These include topics attracting increasing attention, such as environmental refugees and environmental rights defenders, as well as cases of potential implementation of human rights approaches to local development decisions.

    Environmental refugees, a term used to describe “people who have been forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption (natural and/or triggered by people) that jeopardizes their existence and/or seriously effects the quality of their life,” has attracted attention for at least two decades. Despite the ongoing discussion on typologies and difficulties around asserting a sole cause in a given case of migration, it is undeniable that increasing pressure posed by climate change, biodiversity loss, and spread of desertification, call for further efforts and additional analytic work to inform future decision making. Recently, the Nansen Initiative, a consultative process aims at developing a protection agenda for displaced people impacted by environmental disasters of climate change. The EU is directly involved in the Nansen Initiative and has also channeled research efforts in providing additional clarity on the topic of environmental refugees.

    A “human rights defender” is a term used to describe people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights. An “environmental rights defender” or “environmental defender” is a person who is defending environmental rights, when the exercise of those rights is being threatened. A growing body of literature indicates that violations of environmental rights, although significantly differing by region, have been increasing worldwide due to greater competition for given natural resources, inadequacy or limited implementation of environmental laws, and corruption. Recent work examines, among others, challenges faced by environmental defenders, especially women, violations by non-state actors, and the impact of relevant legislation. A report from 2016 on global killings of land and environmental defenders estimates that “nearly four people are murdered every week protecting their land and the natural world from industries like mining, logging and agribusiness”.

    Case studies that attract national interest will also be included in the study. Implementation of human rights approaches to a healthy environment will be analyzed vis-à-vis the management decisions associated with the case of mining activities in Skouries, Halkidiki, wind turbins in Agrafa, central Greece, burning trash in Volos, Thessaly and water privatization in Stagiates, Pelion. Following years of tension, including judicial persecutions and police violence the proposal’s ambition is to frame the ongoing discussion on a human rights framework, informing future relevant decision making.  

  • Open seminar | Human rights and climate change

    | Thursday 03.08.2023

    | 12.00 (GMT +2)

    |  Join Zoom Meeting: :

    https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86085065676?pwd=NDRxdXBhcXZkTFRhSjM3VVdPU21tQT09

    | Passcode: 030823

    | Watch live on our YouTube channel

    Program

    Program

    12.00- 12.10

    Registration

    12.10- 12.20

    Welcome – Introductory remarks

    Dr. Asterios Tsioumanis

    12.20- 12.35

    Climate and human rights | Video Interview

    Dr. Annalisa Savaresi

    12.35- 12.50

    Climate and human rights | Video Interview

    Professor Saleemul Huq

    12.50- 13.05

    Human rights and climate change. Legal and policy framework.

    Chris Spence

    13.05- 13.40

    Climate change and human rights. Existing power imbalances and inequalities.

    Dr. Kiara Worth

    13.40- 13.50

    Discussion

    13.50- 14.00

    Closing remarks

    Speakers:

    Chris Spence (MA Hons) examines the legal and policy framework on climate change and human rights, including recent developments such as the UN General Assembly’s recognition in July 2022 of the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment (A/76/L.75 ).

    Chris is an adviser and consultant on climate change and sustainable development to several organizations, including the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi), and Oxford Climate Policy group. He has held leadership roles at environmental non-profits in San Francisco and New York, as well as consulting for IUCN, UNDP, the UNFCCC (UN Climate Secretariat) and various other organizations. An award-winning writer, Chris has been following the UN climate  negotiations since COP 4 in 1998, primarily as a writer and team leader for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

    Dr. Kiara Worth will be exploring how climate change exacerbates existing power imbalances and inequalities, and what this means for the protection of human rights.

    Kiara Worth is a photographer and storyteller who has been documenting the global negotiations on environment and development with the UN for nearly a decade, focusing on climate change, sustainable development, and chemicals management, among other topics. With a PhD in Political Science, Kiara has a particular interest in how power dynamics influence the decisions made for sustainability and uses her photography to capture these moments at a global scale.

    Dr. Annalisa Savaresi, Professor of International Environmental Law, University of Eastern Finland and
    Professor Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD)
    will also contribute to the seminar (video interviews)

    Project coordinator Asterios Tsioumanis (PhD, MSc), TIESS, will facilitate the open seminar providing introductory remarks.

    Asterios has an academic background in agricultural and environmental economics, with his doctorate thesis, awarded in 2004 by the Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, focusing on public perceptions towards applications of modern biotechnology, including genetically modified food. As a writer for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, he has followed closely developments in international environmental policy for the past decade.

    Seminar
    The seminar will be held in a hybrid format in-person and online (via Zoom). A limited number of invitations will be issued for in-person participants, following COVID-19-related restrictions.
    Online participation requires no prior registration. The seminar will be held in English. A report including key messages as well as all project’s deliverables will be translated in Greek in the project’s website.

    Project

    The Transdisciplinary Institute for Environmental and Social Studies (TIESS), in collaboration with a group of academic researchers, was successful to its application for a Jean Monnet grant to analyze and study environmental rights under the title “Human rights and the environment in the EU: Towards an inclusive debate”. The three-year project addresses various aspects of the concept of environmental rights, and aims to add to the ongoing discussion, following the recognition of the “right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right that is important for the enjoyment of human rights” (UN Human Rights Council Resolution 48/13).
    The project is divided in five thematic areas, which will be addressed in separate seminars. Following the previous three seminars, this fourth seminar will try to link human rights and climate change in order to offer additional focus on the interrelationship between environmental degradation and the fulfillment of human rights.

    Human rights and climate change (backround)

    Almost thirteen years ago, the Human Rights Council adopted its first resolution on climate change and human rights, in which it underscored its concern that climate change poses an immediate and far-reaching threat to people and communities around the world and has implications for the full enjoyment of human rights.

    Since then, a growing body of literature focuses on the issue, indicating that adverse effects of climate change have significant implications for the effective enjoyment of human rights, especially by those already vulnerable. The importance of a human rights perspective on climate action has been repeatedly emphasized in multilateral fora.

    During the pivotal conference of the parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in 2015, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights emphasized that urgent action to combat climate change is essential to satisfy the duties of states under human rights law. The subsequent Paris Agreement, one in which the European Union played a catalytic role during the negotiations, explicitly refers to human rights in its preamble. “Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the rights to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empower of women and intergenerational equity”.

    Given the strategic role that the EU played in negotiating and agreeing the Paris Agreement, the European long-term strategy for a modern, climate neutral economy, as expressed in the long-term vision document “A Clean Planet for All”, which provides the framework for the European Union’s climate strategy to 2050 is in line with the Paris Agreement.

    The document warns that climate change could “have severe consequences on the productivity of Europe’s economy, infrastructure, ability to produce food, public health, biodiversity and political stability”. It further establishes the links with the enjoyment of basic rights, stating that climate change “could undermine security and prosperity in the broadest sense, damaging economic, food, water and energy systems, and in turn trigger further conflicts and migratory pressures”.

    This section of the project offers an additional opportunity for increased focus on the intersection between climate change and human rights.

    Visit our website: https://environmentalrights.eu/

    Contact: environmentalrights2021@gmail.com

    For more information on TIESS see our activities and seminars.

    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

    Subscribe to our Youtube channel


    Newsletter – sent to the media and several mailing lists


    Social media – announcements and posts (Facebook, Twitter)

    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

    Subscribe to our Youtube channel

  • Open seminar | Intergenerational rights, including children rights and the environment

    | Monday 15.05.2023

    | 6.00 p.m. (GMT +2)

    | Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82669038611?pwd=dVNQcy9RSGFsSlhOU2hva01zOTJHUT09

    | Passcode: 150523

    | Watch live on our YouTube channel

    | Scroll down for greek – Δείτε παρακάτω την ανακοίνωση στα ελληνικά |

    Speakers:

    Ivana Savić (LLM, MBA) will deliver a presentation on the concept of intergenerational rights, encompassing the rights of children and the environment from the perspectives of International Law and EU Law. The presentation will focus on the rights and obligations of various actors involved, as well as the challenges and opportunities for effectively realising the environmental rights of children domestically, regionally and internationally within the framework of the International Law of Cooperation and Sustainable Development.

    Ivana is an internationally recognized human rights and sustainability expert with more than 14 years of experience in international development, environmental sustainability, energy, human rights, policy and law development. Ivana is well experienced in designing processes and building architecture for human rights and sustainable development, with a proven record of generating transformative changes and innovative solutions to the encountered and emerging challenges, especially in the processes leading up to the Rio+20 and the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Ivana is an external Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Private Law at Leiden University with the research topic International Environmental Rights of the Child.

    Manos Kalaintzis & Stefanos Katsoulis (Ph.D., MSc.) will address Intergenerational justice through the lens of human rights. Intergenerational justice has become a crucial concern in recent years, with growing awareness of the impact of current human activities on future generations. The concept of intergenerational justice revolves around the idea that present generations have a responsibility to leave a world that is livable, sustainable, and just for future generations.
    Intergenerational justice is not only concerned with environmental sustainability but also with ensuring that future generations will have access to basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and education. Several human rights are relevant to intergenerational justice, including among others the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the right to a healthy environment, the right to adequate food and water, the right to education, and the right to cultural heritage. Recently the right to a healthy environment has been formally recognised.
    The temporal dimension of intergenerational justice presents unique challenges for human rights. Intergenerational justice is concerned with the long-term future, making it difficult to enforce in the present. Moreover, the benefits of promoting intergenerational justice are not immediate, making it challenging to generate political will for action. It is also required to integrate the principles of intergenerational justice into international human rights law and to develop new metrics for assessing the impact of human activities on future generations. However, human rights provide a framework for ensuring that the needs and interests of future generations are taken into account in decision-making processes.
    All people have the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. As human rights and the environment are interdependent, a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is necessary for the full enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, such as the rights to life, health, food, water and sanitation, and development, among others. Despite myriad international agreements, as well as national laws and policies, the condition of our environment keeps deteriorating. The global crises we currently face, including climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and pollution, represent some of the biggest threats to humanity, severely affecting the exercise and enjoyment of human rights.
    We will examine the complexities of the recognition and the evolution of those concepts through the jurisprudence of European courts.

    Manos holds a law degree from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, an LLM from the International Hellenic University on Transnational and European Commercial Law and Arbitration, an LLM from the Democritus University of Thrace on Public International Law, and an LLM from the KU Leuven on Public International and European Law. He is currently a student at the National school of Judiciary. He was administrative assistant and research assistant the the ”UNESCO Chair in Intercultural Policy”of the University of Macedonia. He had been an expert at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and had been employed at the European Parliament as a policy advisor on constitutional and citizens’ affairs.

    Stefanos is a PhD candidate in the Law of International Economic Organizations at the University of Macedonia. He holds an MA in International Economic Relations and a BA in International and European Economic Studies from the same University. His research interests focus on the law of international organizations and the legal framework of regional trade agreements, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as on human rights protection related topics with an emphasis on economic, social and cultural rights. He is an administrative staff member of the Training and Lifelong Learning Center of the University of Macedonia and a research associate at the “UNESCO Chair in Intercultural Policy”. He serves as the President of Thessaloniki Youth Club for UNESCO.

    Project coordinator Asterios Tsioumanis (PhD, MSc), TIESS, will facilitate the open seminar providing introductory remarks.

    Asterios has an academic background in agricultural and environmental economics, with his doctorate thesis, awarded in 2004 by the Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, focusing on public perceptions towards applications of modern biotechnology, including genetically modified food. As a writer for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, he has followed closely developments in international environmental policy for the past decade.

    Program

    6.00- 6.10

    Registration

    6.10- 6.15

    Welcome – Introductory remarks

    Asterios Tsioumanis, Facilitator – Transdisciplinary Institute for Environmental and Social Studies (TIESS)

    6.15- 6.45

    Intergenerational rights, encompassing the rights of children and the environment. EU and International framework.

    Ivana Savić

    6.45- 7.30

    Jurisprudence of the climate crisis in the constitutions, supreme courts and the ECHR.

    Manos Kalaintzis & Stefanos Katsoulis

    7.30- 7.50

    Discussion

    7.50- 8.00

    Closing remarks

    Seminar
    The seminar will be held in a hybrid format in-person and online (via Zoom). A limited number of invitations will be issued for in-person participants, following COVID-19-related restrictions.
    Online participation requires no prior registration. The seminar will be held in English. A report including key messages as well as all project’s deliverables will be translated in Greek in the project’s website.

    Project

    The Transdisciplinary Institute for Environmental and Social Studies (TIESS), in collaboration with a group of academic researchers, was successful to its application for a Jean Monnet grant to analyze and study environmental rights under the title “Human rights and the environment in the EU: Towards an inclusive debate”. The three-year project addresses various aspects of the concept of environmental rights, and aims to add to the ongoing discussion, following the recognition of the “right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right that is important for the enjoyment of human rights” (UN Human Rights Council Resolution 48/13).
    The project is divided in five thematic areas, which will be addressed in separate seminars. Following the previous two seminars, this third seminar will try to link intergenerational rights, including children rights with the environmental in order to offer additional focus on the interrelationship between environmental degradation and the fulfillment of human rights.

    Intergenerational rights, including children rights and the environment (backround)

    The undeniable links between environmental degradation and the full enjoyment of the rights of children has long been recognized at the international level. The Convention on the Rights of the Child explicitly mentions the need for “the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking-water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution”.

    Recently, the links between environmental degradation and the enjoyment of children’s rights received additional focus. The conclusions of both the Human Rights Council and the Special Rapporteur are indicative of the status quo. “Taken as a whole, no group in more vulnerable to environmental harm than children (persons under the age of 18), who make up 30% of the world’s population. Environmental harm has especially severe effects on children under the age of five”.

    The increasing body of literature establishes that environmental degradation affects the enjoyment of a wide range of children’s rights. The list would include rights to life, health, development, adequate standard of living, play and recreation, non-discrimination, education and culture.

    Furthermore, the rights of future generations, including people that are not yet born, pose additional challenges. On the one hand, almost every single significant multilateral environmental agreement or process on sustainable development underscores the potential effects of environmental harm on future generations. On the other, human rights law is primarily based on the rights of individual human beings.

    The “long-term” prospect in environmental multilateral agreements or processes on sustainable development currently rarely goes beyond 2100. As we have already entered the third decade of the 21st century, this means in practice that boys and girls born nowadays, may well be alive “in the long-term” so the rights of future generations in the form of the rights of children or the rights of the unborn are interlinked. The project’s ambition is to explicitly address this rather obfuscated link.

    At the policy level, the European Union has been an active leader in promoting children’s rights. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by all EU countries. Article 3(3) of the EU Treaty establishes the objective for the EU to promote protection of the rights of the child. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU guarantees the protection of the rights of the child by the EU institutions and countries when they implement European law.

    The project aims to contribute in ongoing work by the EU on children’s rights, by offering additional focus on the interrelationship between environmental degradation and the fulfillment of human rights.

    Visit our website: https://environmentalrights.eu/

    Contact: environmentalrights2021@gmail.com

    For more information on TIESS see our activities and seminars.


    Newsletter – sent to the media and several mailing lists


    Social media – announcements and posts (Facebook, Twitter)

    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

    Subscribe to our Youtube channel

  • Open seminar | Human rights and the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity

    | Wednesday 02.11.2022

    | 4.30 p.m. (GMT +2)

    | Join Zoom Meeting

    https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86025587016?pwd=WUN6dTVQSDFvREJFT3NlZW5vMWdPZz09

    | Passcode: 021122

    | Watch live on our YouTube channel

    Nicole Schabus (LLM, MBA) will present about the involvement of Indigenous Peoples in international environmental and human rights negotiations and how the rights and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples are protected under the respective frameworks.  

    Nicole is a law professor at Thompson Rivers University, in Secwepemc’ulecw the territory of the Secwepemc People, in the Interior of what is now known as British Columbia, Canada. She has worked with Indigenous Peoples in the Interior and across Canada and the Americas, including by supporting them with making international submissions to international human rights bodies. She has been following international environmental negotiations for more than 20 years, as a writer for Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

    Georgina Catacora-Vargas (Ph.D., MSc.) will address the relationship between biodiversity and human rights realization, illustrating how biodiversity loss, and conversely, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, contribute to the promotion, protection, and fulfillment of rights, particularly for those in vulnerable situations.

    Georgina holds a Ph.D. in Agroecology and has over ten years of experience in biodiversity, genetic resources, and biosafety of modern biotechnology policy making. Her scholar research is transdisciplinary and focuses on socioeconomic and socioecological systems related to food and agriculture, with a gender and human rights-based approach. Inspired by her work in peasant rights, she is currently a professor at an Academic Peasant Unit of the Bolivian Catholic University. Georgina is also the president of the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology (SOCLA).

    Elsa Tsioumani (PhD, LL.M/DEA) will facilitate the open seminar providing introductory remarks.
    Elsa is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at the School of International Studies in the University of Trento in Italy. She is an international environmental lawyer with an extensive publication record on biodiversity governance, human rights, and emerging technologies. She has been following intergovernmental negotiations on the environment for more than 20 years, as a writer for Earth Negotiations Bulletin, and collaborates with the project at TIESS.

    Program

    4.20- 4.30

    Registration

    4.30- 4.40

    Welcome – Introductory remarks

    Elsa Tsioumani, Facilitator – Transdisciplinary Institute for Environmental and Social Studies – TIESS

    4.40- 5.00

    Protection of Indigenous Peoples rights and knowledge in international environmental and human rights negotiations.

    Nicole Schabus

    5.00- 5.20

    Biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Protection, promotion, and fulfillment of rights, particularly for those in vulnerable situations.

    Georgina Catacora-Vargas

    5.20- 5.40

    Discussion

    5.40- 6.00

    Closing remarks

    Seminar
    The seminar will be held in a hybrid format in-person and online (via Zoom). A limited number of invitations will be issued for in-person participants, following COVID-19-related restrictions.
    Online participation requires no prior registration. The seminar will be held in English. A report including key messages as well as all project’s deliverables will be translated in Greek in the project’s website.

    Project

    The Transdisciplinary Institute for Environmental and Social Studies (TIESS), in collaboration with a group of academic researchers, was successful to its application for a Jean Monnet grant to analyze and study environmental rights under the title “Human rights and the environment in the EU: Towards an inclusive debate”. The three-year project addresses various aspects of the concept of environmental rights, and aims to add to the ongoing discussion, following the recognition of the “right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right that is important for the enjoyment of human rights” (UN Human Rights Council Resolution 48/13).
    The project is divided in five thematic areas, which will be addressed in separate seminars. Following the introductory seminar under the theme “The fundamental right to a healthy and clean environment”, this second seminar will try to link the human rights framework with the biodiversity framework in order to ensure that biodiversity considerations will become more central in future development planning.

    Human rights and the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity (backround)

    Biological diversity refers to all living organisms and the interactions among them. The term not only covers species diversity, but also genetic and ecosystem diversity. It thus refers to the variety of different species, including plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms; the variety of genes within all these species; and their different habitats.

    Biodiversity, the outcome of billions of years of evolution, is shaped by natural processes and interactions between humans and the environment. It is the source of the essential resources and ecosystem services that sustain human life, including food production, purification of air and water, and climate stabilization. Biodiversity directly supports human activities, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and tourism. It thus underpins human well-being and livelihoods, and the full enjoyment of an extensive range of human rights, including the rights to life, health, food, water and culture.

    The rapid loss of biodiversity in our era, estimated to be 100 to 1000 times higher than the background species extinction rate, has important implications for human well-being and the realization of those rights. A human rights perspective allows the demonstration of the urgent need to safeguard biodiversity and contribute towards ensuring policy coherence.

    The current Biodiversity Strategy of the European Union explicitly refers in its future vision (by 2050) to protection, restoration and valuation of biodiversity’s intrinsic value, as well as to its essential contribution to human well-being. Linking the human rights framework with the biodiversity framework will provide mutual benefits, ensuring foremostly that biodiversity considerations will become more central in future development planning. The outcomes of this section of the project will feed in the existing policy dialogue, informing relevant decision-making regarding, inter alia, the future targets and visions of the European Union’s biodiversity strategies.

    Contact: environmentalrights2021@gmail.com


    Newsletter – sent to the media and several mailing lists


    Social media announcements and posts (Facebook, Twitter)