As a follow-up to the Human Rights Council Resolution 40/11 on the protection of the rights of persons engaged in the defense of the environment, adopted in 2019, the Geneva Road Map 40/11 seeks to ensure the effective implementation of the right to act for the protection of the environment and to promote free and safe spaces for information and discussion on environmental matters. This event is co-organized by the University of Geneva and Earthjustice, within the framewok of the Geneva Environment Network and under the sponsorship of Norway, in parallel to the 46th session of the Human Rights Council to draw what this Roadmap for the protection of environmental defenders should be in 2021 and at the same time to prepare taking stock in 2022 of their realization, their impact and of the so urgently needed reversal of the current worrying trend.
Geneva Roadmap 40/11
Human Right Council Resolution 40/11 – Recognizing the contribution of environmental human rights defenders to the enjoyment of human rights, environmental protection and sustainable development – was adopted by the Human Rights Council by consensus on 21 March 2019. Following the adoption of the resolution, platforms, coalitions and networks of defenders met in February 2020 to launch the Geneva Roadmap 40/11 for the implementation of this Human Rights Council Resolution 40/11. The actions envisaged at the time were thwarted by the pandemic and its consequences, but the orientations of this Roadmap defined then remain fully relevant.
Milestones and Opportunities in 2021
2020 was to be an exceptional year for the environment, given the important conferences that were to be held on the subject. In the end, it will have been the year of the coronavirus (Sars-Cov-2). However, this turnaround confirms, if need be, the crucial role of environmental issues. If the exact cause of this pandemic remains to be clarified, it is part of the worrying emergence for several decades of new pandemics resulting from zoonoses, showing the consequences of massive degradation of the natural environment of our planet. Yet, while the protection and restoration of this environment is clearly becoming a priority, intimidations, attacks and violations of the fundamental rights of those who commit themselves to it continue to increase.
Global actors strive to make up for lost time and make 2021 the year of the environment. This raises important hopes. But for this year to be so, it must also be the year of the protection for the people who are working towards its protection in the first place.
Several events on the international scene offer critical opportunities in 2021, as potential milestones in the realization of this Roadmap. These include both global and regional processes in both the environmental and human rights spheres.
A significant number of environmental events will take place in 2021. In addition to their contribution to safeguarding the planet’s environment, all of them will have the potential to incorporate measures addressing needs and rights of environmental human rights defenders.
Regional Steps in 2021
- The Aarhus Convention: adoption of a Rapid Response Mechanism for EHRD ?
- The Escazu Convention: what will the entry into force change in 2021 for EHRD ?
Environmental International Organizations Milestones in 2021
- IUCN World Conservation Congress | September 2021- Marseille, France
- UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP15) | 2021 – Kumming, China
- UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP26) | November 2021 – Glasgow, UK
H.E. Amb. Nazhat SHAMEEN KHAN
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Fiji to the United Nations in Geneva, President of the Human Rights Council
UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment (video message)
Deputy Permanent Representative, Norway
Programme Officer, Law Division, UNEP
Legal Focal Point for EECCA countries, European ECO Forum | Senior Policy Expert, Resource & Analysis Center Society and Environment
H.E. Maia BITADZE
Chair of the Aarhus Convention, Georgia
Director, Environmental Democracy Practice, WRI
Senior Expert Environmental Justice, IUCN Netherlands
Senior Attorney, Climate & Energy Program, Center for International Environmental Law
Human Rights Lawyer, Mexican Center for Environmental Law | Defending Land and Environmental Defenders Coalition
Thematic Coordination Manager, International Land Coalition
Executive Director, International Service for Human Rights
Executive Director, Universal Rights Group
Senior lecturer and researcher, Environmental Governance and Territorial Development, University of Geneva
This event will take place on Webex and Facebook live. Kindly register directly on the Webex platform.
In addition to the live WebEx and Facebook transmissions, the video be available on this webpage.
- Environment @ 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
- The Environmental Human Rights Defenders Crisis: Towards a Geneva Road Map | HRC43 Side Event | 27 February 2020
- Public Roundtable | Supporting environmental defenders: How can we mobilize the international community? | 26 Februray 202
- University of Geneva: Workshop & Public Roundtable – Supporting Environmental Defenders
- ICCA Consortium supports the global movement for indigenous peoples’ & local communities’ collective territories of life (ICCAs). These are under increasing threat, as are their custodians. The Consortium is attempting to respond via several initiatives.
- International Land Coalition: a global alliance of civil society & intergovernmental organisations working together to realise land governance for & with people at country level, responding to needs & protecting rights of those who live on & from the land.
- In 2018, UNEP launched the Promoting Greater Protection for Environmental Defenders Policy.
- In 2018, UNEP also launched the Environmental Rights Initiative, aiming at bringing environmental protection nearer to the people by assisting state and non-state actors to Promote, Protect and Respect Environmental Rights.
- Environment-rights.org is a collaborative resource portal for environmental human rights defenders. It is designed as a ‘living’ platform, constantly updated and expanded.
- Not1More (N1M) is an environmental campaign group founded in 2016 that supports frontline environmental defenders and investigates the root causes of environmental conflict.
- The Zero Tolerance Initiative, launched in 2019, seeks to address violence, intimidation & killings of indigenous people & other human rights defenders in global supply chains.