New York, December 4th 2018 – On December 3rd 2018, UN Secretary-General Guterres of released the UN’s very first report on the state of international environmental law. This work will be decisive if international law is adequately to meet the urgency of Earth’s world-wide environmental crises. It recommends steps to strengthen how nations protect the climate and solve problems of pollution or safeguarding biodiversity. The United Nations General Assembly mandated preparation of his report in a resolution adopted May 10, 2018 (Res A/72/L.51).
Entitled “Gaps in International Environmental Law and Environment-Related Instruments: Towards A Global Pact for the Environment” (Document A/73/419), the report examines how nations could gather general principles of environmental law into one single, international instrument. It notes that today there are more than 500 agreements that protect the environment, but they are incomplete and not fully implemented. Agreeing on a common set of guiding principles could clarify, harmonize and reinforce them at the international level. The report also highlights legal gaps, such as fully preventing air pollution from crossing borders and protecting soils and land from degradation.
Anticipating the release of the Report, at the Paris Peace Forum on 11 November 2018, UN Secretary General Guterres declared that “the codification of the main principles of environmental law would bring visibility and clarity”.
The Report sets the stage for deliberations of the General Assembly’s the ad-hoc working group, which begin in January 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya.
On “Human Rights Day”, December 10, 2018, France, Senegal, IUCN and the International Council of Environmental Law (ICEL) will assemble a panel of international experts at the United Nations Headquarters, to assess the recommendations report. These include recognizing a right to a health environment as part of international law. These debates will be seventy years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Their message: it is now time to recognize a new generation of fundamental rights and, in particular, the right for all persons to live in a healthy environment.
Paris, October 9, 2018 – To mark the opening of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, 100 jurists from all over the world, amongst some of the most renowned in their field, called on States to take the next decisive step towards global environmental governance. Their objective: have the States adopt a Global Pact for the Environment that dedicates a new generation of rights and duties towards planet conservation. This engagement aims to open a new chapter in global environmental governance.
While humanity today is confronted with a unprecedented ecological crisis, the adoption of such a Pact, currently being negotiated at the UN, constitutes a global response and successfully tackles the biggest challenge of the 21st century. The legal community is convinced, the Paris Climate Agreement was just a start. Unlike the latter, which limits itself to just the climate, the Global Pact for the Environment would be the first treaty encompassing the environment as a whole. It fills the gaps in international law where they persist while simultaneously encouraging States to act in favor of planet conservation. Throughout this call, the legal community hopes the States will take responsibility for the future of humankind.
Please find here the full text of the Call for Action with the complete list of signatories :
The adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 created a momentum for protecting the planet. At the same time, the seriousness of environmental harms reinforces the need to move forward.
It is now time to take a decisive step forward with the adoption of a global environmental pact. This international treaty aims to cluster in a single document with legal force the major principles that guide environmental actions.
The Global Pact for the Environment project has been developed through an international network of over one hundred leading experts who represent every continent.
This “Group of Experts for the Pact” (GEP) is chaired by Laurent Fabius, President of the French Constitutional Court and former President of the COP21, and mobilized by the Environment Commission of the Club des Juristes, the first legal think tank in France.
On June 24, 2017, the Pact project was introduced in Paris at an international event organized by the Club des juristes in the Grand Amphithéâtre of the Sorbonne, with many personalities committed to the protection of the planet attending, including Laurent Fabius, Ban Ki-moon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mary Robinson, Anne Hidalgo, Laurence Tubiana, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal and Nicolas Hulot.
Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, committed on this occasion to introducing the Global Pact for the Environment project to the United Nations General Assembly.
The project is presented to the UN on September 2017.
The Parties to the present Pact,
Acknowledging the growing threats to the environment and the need to act in an ambitious and concerted manner at the global level to better ensure its protection,