This Side Event to the Human Rights Council will launch the executive summary of the publication “Protecting the frontline: Good practices for supporting environmental human rights defenders” and present the initiatives promoted by state and non-state actors, intergovernmental organizations, environmental human rights defenders and their networks. The event is organized by the Universal Rights Group, with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Geneva Environment Network.

About this Session

Across the world, environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) have been catalysing actions to safeguard a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, as recognized in Human Rights Council Resolution 40/11. From the local to the international level, the efforts of EHRDs have contributed to responses to the three interlinked environmental crises afflicting our planet – the loss of biodiversity, pollution, and climate change. Their work has been crucial to the protection and respect of their human rights, including the rights of their communities, and, ultimately, of all people and the planet. Based on the findings of the consultations convened to collate and compile good practices for supporting environmental human rights defenders, the event will be an opportunity to launch the Executive Summary of the publication “Protecting the frontline: Good practices for supporting environmental human rights defenders.” The event also contributes to efforts by the Geneva Road Map 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. Finally, the event also contributes to the implementation of Human Rights Council Resolution 48/13 and General Assembly Resolution 76/300 recognising the human right to a healthy environment.


Additional speaker to be confirmed.

Welcome and Introduction

  • H.E. Amb. Tine Mørch Smith, Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN in Geneva
  • H.E. Amb. Shara Duncan-Villalobos, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargée d’affaires of Costa Rica to the UN in Geneva
  • Kelly Billingsley, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the Human Rights Council

A call for solidarity: why and how to support environmental defenders

  • Therese Arnesen, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Voices from the ground: support that works

  • Alfred Brownell, Green Advocates (video)
  • Mitzi Jonelle Tan; Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP); and organizer with Fridays for Future International and Fridays for Future Most Affected Peoples and Areas

Key aspects to consider when offering support to environmental defenders

  • Andrew Anderson, Executive Director, Front Line Defenders

Launch of the report and microsite ‘Supporting the defenders of the planet: Good practices to support environmental human rights defenders across the world

  • Marc Limon, Executive Director, Universal Rights Group


  • Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders (Aarhus Convention)

*Moderated by Soo-Young Hwang, UNEP


The video of the event will be available on this webpage.