Part II - Opportunities in International Fora

AuthorElisa Morgera
Biodiversity as a Human Right and its implications for the EU’s External Action
everybody’s right to life, health a nd food, proce dural envir onmental righ ts, as well a s th e righ ts of
children, women, indigenous peoples and local communities.
The EEAS s hould s upport the Com mission in mainstreaming bio diversity as a h uman right in external
action aris ing from the Green Deal and the ne w EU biodivers ity strategy.
5 Part II - Opportunities in International Fora
This section will identify a s eries of oppor tunities for the EU and its Mem ber States to play a leadership role
in su ppor ting a ho listic righ ts -based approach t o biodiversity conservation and s ustainable use in
multilateral environmental and international human rights processes. While each opportunity would
requ ire an in-depth discussion that is beyond the scope of this study, for all opportunities the same policy
and le gal cons idera tion s apply . In eff ect, it is h ard t o pr edict in th e ab str act which initia tive m ay be more
pro mising (as, for in stance, r eliance o n CBD gu idance by interna tional hum an rights bo dies co uld not have
been anticipated five y ears ago) (Morgera,2014). Hence, it is assumed that th e combined influence from
many multilateral initiatives and their mutual interactions may enhance the chances of creating actual
impact s.
Accor ding ly, th e recom mended EU act ion in th e follo wing mult ilateral pr ocesses wo uld have likely impacts
in t erm s of:
contributing to policy coherence across multilateral environmental governance (biodiversity, ocean,
climat e chan ge, chemicals ), as well as between multila teral environmen tal governance and in ternational
human rights processes, with as singled out in the EU’s Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy
2015-2019 24a particular focus on economic, social and cultural rights, women’s rights, children’s rights,
non-discr imination, business and human rig hts, impact assessments and reliance on be st pr actices for
the purposes of contributing to multilateralism;
clarifying further the extent and scope of international obligations on biodiversity and human rights in
different sectors and contexts, that can contribute to their justiciability nationally and internationally;
rais ing awar eness for a diverse grou p of po licy-makers, duty-beare rs and rights holders ab out exist ing
international obligations on biodiversity and human rights, that can per se contribute to policy
coherence at national level and increasing capacity to participate in relevant national processes to ensure
every-day accountability, as well as seeking access to courts;
ident ifying goo d pract ices and lessons learnt tha t can su pport m utual lear ning at multilateral level and
feed into ongoing international law-making as well as guidance-development processes. These good
practices could also contribute to the good human rights stories evento rganiz ed by the EEA S on the
margins of Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly (; a nd
ensu ring that t he EU a nd it s Member St ates co mply with their int ernational obligations on biodiversity
and human rights in good faith and with mutual support, alongside their EU law obligations on policy
coherence in external action (in line with the obligation under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to
integrate a high level of environmental protection and the improvement of the quality of the
environment into the policies of the Union and in accordance with the principle of s ustainable
Nota bly, the following reco mme ndations ar e in line with and ca n pro vide specific oppor tun ities for
implementing th e Council conclu sions on priorit ies in UN hu man rights fora du ring 2020 regardin g: human
rights and the environment in general, along with human rights and climate change; the rights of the child
24 At the time of finalising this draft version of the study, the Action Plan 2020-2024 was not yet publicly available.

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