General Comment No. 26
- October 10, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
General Comment No. 26
Subject : IR
Section: International conventions
In the news:
- The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child calls on states to take action in first guidance on children’s rights and the environment, with a focus on climate change.
Children’s right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment:
- For the first time, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has explicitly affirmed the children’s right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, issuing a comprehensive interpretation of Member States’ obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Children are the least responsible for the climate crisis but suffer most from its consequences: every year 1.7 million children under the age of five lose their lives due to avoidable environmental damage. And yet, children and young people are under-represented in virtually all decision-making processes on environmental policy.
UN Convention on Rights of the Child:
- Created in 1989
- Ratified by 196 states.
- It outlines universal children’s rights such as the right to life, survival and development, and the right to health.
- A General Comment provides legal guidance on what these rights imply for a specific topic or area of legislation.
General Comment No.26:
- The now published “General Comment No. 26” on children’s rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change”, explicitly addresses the climate emergency, the collapse of biodiversity and pervasive pollution, outlining countermeasures to protect the lives and life perspectives of children.
- With its General Comment No. 26, the Committee on the Rights of the Child not only echoes and amplifies children’s voices, but also clearly defines the rights of children in relation to the environment that States Parties should respect, protect and fulfill, collectively and urgently.
- Key points of the General Comment No. 26:
- General Comment No. 26 specifies that States are responsible not only for protecting children’s rights from immediate harm, but also for foreseeable violations of their rights in the future due to States’ acts — or failure to act — today.
- It underlines that States can be held accountable not only for environmental harm occurring within their borders, but also for the harmful impacts of environmental damage and climate change beyond their borders.
- Particular attention is to be paid to disproportionate harm faced by children in disadvantaged situations.
- Children’s views must be considered in environmental decision-making and stresses the critical role of environmental education in preparing children to take action, advocate, and protect themselves from environmental harm.