BirdLife South Africa is proud to support BirdLife International in its call to the United Nations to make a 'healthy natural environment' a human right. After all, South Africa is one of very few countries to include reference to the environment in its constitution:
Everyone has the right—
(a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing; and
(b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that—
(i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
(ii) promote conservation; and
(iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development."
This year, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we stand behind BirdLife International and support the Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations with a call to action:
Firstly, to include the right to a healthy natural environment – potentially an Article 31 – on the Agenda of the UN General Assembly and the UN Summit on Biodiversity in September 2020; and
Secondly, to include the right to a healthy natural environment in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This should be achieved by December 2023 to mark the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration by the UN General Assembly.
"The health of our planet, our ecosystems, our economies, indeed ourselves, cry out now for the General Assembly to recognize our universal right to live in a healthy natural environment – guaranteed by public policies and governed by sustainability and the best scientific and traditional indigenous knowledge"
Read the full Open Letter from Patricia Zurita, Chief Executive of BirdLife International, on behalf of the BirdLife International Partnership below: