FINAL DOCUMENT

International Forum «Ensuring Children's Rights to a Healthy Environment»

FINAL DOCUMENT

International Forum «Ensuring Children’s Rights to a Healthy Environment»
(November 17, 2022, Tashkent)

The UN and its institutions attach importance to securing the human right to a pure, healthy and sustainable environment. It is recognized that sustainable development in its three aspects - social, economic and environmental - and the protection of the environment, including ecosystems, promote and contribute to the well-being and fulfillment of all human rights.

Climate change has direct and indirect impact on a range of human rights, including children’s rights. Children are affected disproportionately by climate change and the environment.

Changes in temperature, air quality, water, and nutrition have greater implications for children’s health, development, and well-being. The impact of these global challenges and threats is acutely felt in Central Asian countries as well.

The key environmental problem in the Central Asian region is the Aral Sea disaster. The negative humanitarian, environmental and socio-economic consequences of this tragedy go far beyond the region and represent a global problem.

Environmental protection, ensuring environmental safety and rational use of natural resources, as well as combating climate change are the priority areas of the policy of New Uzbekistan.

The world community has supported the environmental initiatives stated by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan from the highest tribunes of the world. The activities of the Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Human Security for the Aral Sea Region, established at the United Nations, and its declaration as a zone of ecological innovation and technology deserve high praise.

Uzbekistan, as a member of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, implements international commitments in its sectoral development strategies and Sustainable Development Goals, which are aimed at improving energy efficiency and resource conservation, developing a «green economy» and renewable energy sources, increasing afforestation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In this regard, on November 17, 2022, in the city of Tashkent, the «Zamin» International Public Fund in cooperation with the Representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) organized an international forum on the theme «Ensuring Children's Rights to a Healthy Environment».

The Forum was attended by the heads of the UN and its structures, representatives of international and regional organizations, government agencies, national human rights institutions, the diplomatic corps, civil society institutions, as well as broad scientific and pedagogical circles.

This final document reflects the decisions identified and adopted as a result of discussions at the forum.

 

We, the forum participants,

 

reaffirming the importance of implementing the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as emphasizing the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment and the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which contain the obligations of the state in interests of present and future generations,

noting that the Resolution 76/300 of the UN General Assembly of 28 July 2022 and the Resolution 48/13 of the Human Rights Council of 8 October 2021 recognized for the first time the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right, and for its implementation, a full compliance with the multilateral environmental agreements is necessary,

discussing that the climate change and pollution, loss of biodiversity, political and economic instability, growing inequalities, declining food and water security, and increasing threats to health and life are having a more negative impact on the lives of children than adults,

reaffirming our commitment to the protection, promotion and fulfillment of the rights and interests of all children, we emphasize the following:

We call on the international community to step up international, regional and national efforts to address the negative impacts of the climate crisis in order to put the rights and interests of the child at the center of climate action;

We welcome the decision of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to prepare General Comment No. 26 on the rights of children and the environment with a special focus on climate change, as well as the adoption by the Committee of recommendations following the consideration of the Fifth Periodic Report of Uzbekistan, in particular, on ensuring the right of the child to healthy environment.

We note with satisfaction that as part of the constitutional reform of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the proposals for including specific regulations aimed at protecting environmental rights, as well as state obligations to improve, restore and protect the environment, preserve the ecological balance for future generations have been prepared.

We also welcome the accession of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action, which contains important commitments to support priorities identified with the participation of children and youth, specifically:

- promoting global recognition and realization of the inalienable right of children to a healthy environment, and taking steps to enshrine this right, where appropriate, in national, regional and global frameworks and/or national policies and legislation;

- intensifying efforts to respect, promote and take into account the rights of children and youth in the implementation of the Paris Agreement at all levels, including recognition of their particular vulnerability, as well as their status as key stakeholders;

- increasing and accelerating investment in child- and youth-sensitive adaptation, disaster risk reduction and mitigation measures;

- promoting global recognition and realization of the inalienable children’s right to a healthy environment, as well as taking measures to consolidate this right, where appropriate, in national, regional and global framework documents and/or national policies and legislation;

- expanding meaningful participation of children and youth in processes related to climate change;

- considering measures to establish the International Commission on Children and Future Generations, as well as existing or new mechanisms at the national level to ensure the effective participation of children and youth in decision-making on climate change;

- adopting institutional and administrative measures at the national and international levels for the active achievement of the goals outlined in the Declaration.

Given the magnitude of climate change, and in order to mitigate its impact on vulnerable populations, especially on children, we call for:

  1. Promote the development, with the participation of international organizations, of capacity building mechanisms for effective planning and management in the field of climate change, with a special focus on children's rights to a healthy environment;
  2. Ensure the participation of children and young people in decision-making processes at the international, regional, national and local levels, support initiatives related to climate change, in particular, to encourage their participation in the UN Youth Delegates Program, the Youth Climate Movement and the UN Youth Office;
  3. Intensify the efforts of children’s and youth parliaments to ensure coordination of the participation of children and youth in environmental decision-making processes;
  4. Monitor and assess the situation with the participation of civil society institutions in implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and other documents related to climate change and its impact on ensuring children's rights to a healthy environment;
  5. Ensure that educational programs empower children's understanding of their role and participation in solving environmental problems, strengthen the ability to take initiatives and respond to climate challenges;
  6. Adopt and implement environmental standards in accordance with the latest scientific data and international standards in the field of health and food safety, especially regarding baby food;
  7. Adopt a comprehensive strategy to improve the social protection system for children, including to ensure its ability to respond to various climate shocks and threats, as well as to protect them from environmental damage;
  8. Ensure that information collected on the sources of environmental harm to children is open and accessible to the general public;
  9. Increase awareness and capacity at the national, regional and international levels among those involved in the decision-making process regarding children's rights and the environment, taking into account important issues related to climate change adaptation, such as ensuring access to extension and training, information and technology services;
  10. Strengthen the efforts of governments, international organizations and business, civil society to ensure a healthy environment for all inhabitants of our planet, especially the future generation.

The «Zamin» International Public Foundation expresses its readiness to actively participate in implementing the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in the field of monitoring the mitigation and elimination of environmental degradation, the impact of climate change on children’s health and development, ensuring food security, water supply and sanitation, together with national institutions on human rights.

We stand for the implementation of projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect ecosystems and biodiversity from climate collapse, with the active participation of children and youth.

Adopted in Tashkent, November 17, 2022