AICHR convenes meeting with UN on human rights, environment, climate change


BANGKOK, 8-10 June 2021– The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) in partnership with the United Nations, particularly the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) convened AICHR Workshop on Human Rights, Environment, and Climate Change from 8-10 June via videoconference.

Over 90 experts from relevant ASEAN, UN agencies, and regional stakeholders exchanged views on ways in which ASEAN institutions can perform their individual and collective roles, with respect to the impacts of climate change on human rights in the region. They also discussed future collaboration with the UN agencies in the context of the 2nd ASEAN-UN Plan of Action (2021-2025).

The workshop’s discussions highlighted several topics, including the role of access to information; public participation and access to justice in rights-based approaches to environmental decision-making and rights-based approaches to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA); and state’s roles and ASEAN institutional roles with respect to children’s rights to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment in ASEAN, among ranges of lessons learnt and best practical practices.

Global and regional exports sharing views at the workshop included UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment Dr. David R. Boyd; UNEP’s Consultant Matthew Baird; UNECLAC’s Expert David Barrio Lamarche; Dr. Vong Sok, Head of Environment Division of ASEAN Secretariat; UNEP Young Champion of the Earth Louise Mabulo, and Chhorvirith Theng, Cambodia’s Representative to ACWC for Children’s rights.

At the workshop, participants reaffirmed the important link between environment and full enjoyment of human rights protection; the need to focus on accountability; access to justice and public participation and more multi-stakeholder platforms to mainstreaming rights-based approach to the ASEAN region’s environmental protection.

The diverse discussion also shed light on regional effort to protect vulnerable peoples beyond boundaries and institutionalising efforts at all levels.

The expert group agreed to move forward on implementing principles and guidelines leading to the fulfillment of children’s rights to a healthy environment.

In her closing remark, Prof. Amara Pongsapich, Thailand’s representative to the AICHR, expressed gratitude to the organising team from UN partners, participants, as well as resource persons for sharing their expertise. She reiterated commitment to work with stakeholders to continue raising awareness and to address remaining challenges to achieve the common regional goals.

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