In the last few years, the GNHRE has grown enormously, in the reach and impact of both our membership and our programs. Our membership has grown in every part of the world, and we now count among our 500+ members, scholars, activists, advocates, environmental rights defenders, diplomats, policymakers, and many others.
In 2021, we hosted our first summer/winter school, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (organized by Dina Lupin and Angela Kariuki), launched a project on the Escazú Agreement in partnership with REDESCA (the Special Rapporteur for Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) (organized by Maria Antonia Tigre and Daniel Noroña), as well as a second project focusing on climate litigation in the Global South highlighting voices from the Global South (organized by Maria Antonia Tigre and Melanie Murcott), among a number of other activities.
2022 has been even more productive:
- Through a series of thematic rounds on Global South climate litigation, we aimed to amplify voices from the Global South by organizing workshops, public events, and contributing to the literature and other resources, such as a bibliography relating to climate change law scholarship in the Global South. This project highlighted advancements in, and obstacles to, climate litigation in the Global South, from the perspective of scholars and practitioners in the Global South, particularly in relation to the application and implementation of human rights.
- We co-hosted a thematic consultation to inform the General Comment on Children’s Rights and the Environment with a Special Focus on Climate Change and prepared a White Paper and a repository of relevant resources to inform the consultation on children’s rights and the right to a healthy environment as part of the General Comment No. 26.
- We launched the GNHRE Implementing Principles for The Escazú Agreement, as well as an official side event of the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Escazú Agreement.
- We co-hosted the Hernan Santa Cruz Dialogue Series with the OHCHR, where Dina Lupin and Maria Antonia Tigre spoke.
- We drafted and sent an advocacy letter to all of the UNGA ambassadors outlining some of the key reasons why all UNGA ambassadors should support UNGA recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
- We co-hosted the 7th Annual Rule of Law and Sustainable Development Seminar (2022) along with the University of Southampton Law School and Te Piringa Faculty Of Law, University Of Waikato. Participants in the GNHRE’s Climate Litigation in the Global South project presented their work in two special dedicated sessions.
- We hosted our 2nd Summer School, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, organised by Dina Lupin and Angela Kariuki. This year, the theme was WATER – From Oceans to Taps. The theme and programme was conceptualised and designed in collaboration with the One Ocean Hub.
- Led by our regional director for Asia, Uday Shankar, we co-hosted the International Conference on Rights of Nature for Sustainable Development in collaboration with Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur.
- We co-hosted the online Symposium: Recognising the Right to a Healthy Environment: Actor Constellations, Processes and What’s Next moderated by Andrea Schapper and Claudia Ituarte-Lima. The event was organized by the University of Stirling, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and GNHRE.
- We co-hosted the official side event “Synergies between the Escazú Agreement, Human Rights Law and the Convention on Biological Diversity”, which brought together more than 240 registered participants from 68 countries. Here is the report in Spanish, English, and Portuguese. Claudia Ituarte-Lima and Maria Antonia Tigre were among the speakers.
- The GNHRE Blog has never been more active, with insightful and engaging posts. Hot topics were discussed, including the recent UNHRC’s Torres Strait Island decision, the Chilean ecological constitution draft and process, the Deadly Air case in South Africa, and evolving new rights, to name a few.
- This year, we hosted three blog symposiums, one on Human Rights at COP26, the second on Rights-based Climate Change Litigation – Global and Regional Perspectives, and the third on the UNGA’s Consideration of the Right to a Healthy Environment. You can find all our blog posts on our community’s blog site, and contribute a post to our blog – read more here.
- We launched the GNHRE’s own journal, the Environmental Rights Review. The Review is envisioned as a creative space for critically thinking about environmental rights. The first issue will discuss the recognition of the right to a healthy environment at the international level. Upon the call for papers, we received nine submissions currently under review. The first issue will be published in Spring 2023.
- We co-hosted the First Annual Green Rights and Warrier Lawyers Virtual Academy, organised by the Centre for Law and the Environment at the University of British Columbia.
- We also launched a new membership system. Members are now able to edit their profiles and search for other members according to their interests and regions. We hope this will create more opportunities for knowledge exchange and the creation of new partnerships.
- For the second year in a row, we hosted two interns from the University of Chicago. Stephanie Yu and Anna Guzman worked for the entire summer helping the management team implement all these new systems and ideas, while conducting novel and fascinating research under the guidance of the GNHRE’s Director. They published two insightful blog posts on the right to a healthy environment’s implications for vulnerable communities and the political dimensions of international environmental governance.
- The GNHRE mentorship program led by Natalia Urzola has fostered several partnerships between members and allowed knowledge exchange. Due to its success, a second call was launched, which resulted in over 10 new mentor-mentee partnerships. A third call will happen early next year, hoping to continue fostering knowledge exchange and finding new ways to engage with our broader network.
We have a number of exciting plans for 2023, including the following:
- Forthcoming publication of the special issue on climate litigation in the Global South in the Journal of Human Rights Practice: This will be the first publication of our Climate Litigation in the Global South project will be out in the first semester of 2023. This special issue of the JHRP, edited by Maria Antonia Tigre and Melanie Murcott, will feature contributions from 30 Global South scholars.
- The second round of the Global South project will begin, with a focus on vulnerabilities in climate litigation.
- We are in the process of creating a number of curated reading lists as a new feature of the Research Repository. In this way, we hope to feature literature and areas of research that do not get the attention they deserve but also give scholars and practitioners a chance to share their key reading lists.
- Our third annual School for Human Rights and the Environment
- A side event at the IUCNAEL which will take place at the University of East Finland from 31 July-4 August 2023
- A new project on litigation in Nepal – if anyone is interested in supporting this initiative, please contact Pankaj Karn at firstname.lastname@example.org
- A webinar series on the Right to a Healthy Environment, critical and pragmatic perspectives
- A blog series on human rights, environmental democracy, and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) exploring synergies between the Escazú Agreement and the CBD.
- An event on Participatory Rights led by the North American team.
The GNHRE is an entirely volunteer-led organization, managed by an extraordinarily dedicated Core Team comprising regional teams from North America (Sara Seck and Rebecca Bratspies), Africa (Clive Vinti, Caiphas Brewster Soyapi, and Angela Kariuki), Latin America (Héctor Herrera and Claudia Ituarte-Lima) and the Caribbean (Lisa Benjamin and Alana Lancaster), Europe (Annalisa Savaresi and Margarethe Wewerinke), Asia (Uday Shankar and Pankaj Karn), and Australia-Pacific (Paul Govind and Miguel Frohlich). Rashmi Gupta is our Research Repository Manager. Melanie Montalban, Linnéa Nordlander, and Uday Shankar are our membership team. Rosemary Mwanza, Cleverline Brown, and Sumudu Atapattu are our blog editors. Tim Blackman is our technical manager. Dina Lupin, Maria Antonia Tigre, Natalia Urzola Gutiérrez, and Victoria Lichet are our senior management team.
On July 28th, 2022, following the UN HRC’s resolution of October 8th, 2021, the UN General Assembly recognized and adopted a resolution on the right to a healthy environment (GA 76/300), marking a new era in the development of the field of human rights and the environment. In 2023, we hope to continue advancing this growing field and engaging in discussions on how to increase implementation throughout the globe.
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We wish all of our members a healthy and happy year’s end.
Dina Lupin, Maria Antonia Tigre, Natalia Urzola, Victoria Lichet, and the GNHRE Core Team