2023 Summer/Winter School – Transformations and transitions in the right to a healthy environment through the rights of children/youth

Date and time: Wednesday 13 September, 10am-11.30am CEST



This panel aims to elaborate on how there have been transformations and transitions in the right to a healthy environment because of progression in the rights of children/youth. The principle of the best interests of the child and other children’s rights principles can be powerful for arguing for increased climate mitigation measures by states. Children and youth have been engaging in exciting and impactful advocacy for the environment, including through protest, government dialogue and in the courts. The panel will bring together scholars to consider recent developments in the legal arena. Numerous climate petitions at national and international level have been taken by child litigants. The UN committee on the rights of the child has drafted a general comment on the rights of children to a healthy environment. Standards are being set through children’s rights actions (such as through Saachi petition before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child) which affect the right to a healthy environment more broadly. We will engage in critical discussions on potential consequences of developments in the area of children’s environmental rights; particularly in relation to the UN convention on the rights of the child, and reflect on what these transformations and transitions mean for human rights.

This panel is part of the The Hernán Santa Cruz Dialogue Series, inaugurated by the UN Human Rights office in 2020, creating a dynamic platform for exchanging innovative thoughts, expertise, and approaches related to economic, social and cultural rights, the right to development, the 2030 Agenda, and Sustainable Development Goals in light of the current global challenges. The Dialogue Series is named after Hernán Santa Cruz Barceló, a key figure in the development of the UN human rights framework who played a crucial role in incorporating economic and social rights into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Read more about the Dialogue Series here.


Aoife Daly, Professor of Law at the School of Law, University College Cork – The right to a healthy environment and the transformation of children as actors at national and international level

Asteropi Chatzinikola-Iliopoulos, PhD Candidate, Cardiff School of Law & Politics and University of Bristol – Children’s Rights and Climate Change: Mapping the Trends of Child-led Climate Litigation

Freya Doughty-Wagner, fourth-year doctoral candidate at Washington University Law School, St. Louis – Recognizing the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for children: UNCRC General Comment 26

Tanu Biswas, Associate professor in pedagogy at the University of Stavanger (Norway) with Thomas Hylland EriksenOn Becoming Good Ancestors: A childist reading of Sacchi et al vs Argentina et al 2019

Diandra Ni Bhuachalla, EESC Youth Delegate COP28 & COP29 https://www.linkedin.com/in/diandranib/

Marie-Claire Graf, Co-Founder Youth Negotiators Academy, Youth Negotiators Academy and its first programme the Climate Youth Negotiator Programme