ASEAN begins preparation for regional environmental rights framework
BANGKOK, 2 December 2022 – The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) conducted the Ad Hoc Preparatory Session for the ASEAN Environmental Rights Framework and Interim Working Group Meeting on 22-23 November in Bangkok, Thailand.
Continued from the previous coordination meetings in 2022, this meeting deliberated and agreed on the Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Environmental Rights Working Group (AER WG) to be established in the drafting of the regional framework. About 60 participants including representatives from ASEAN Sectoral Bodies and Entities, the ASEAN Secretariat, civil society organisations, United Nations agencies, and academic institutions attended.
The two-day programme provided a platform for all participants to exchange views on possible key elements, structure, and status of the proposed regional framework on environmental rights. The meeting reiterated on the modalities of work that ensure a holistic approach and recognised the importance of inclusive representation by relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies and Entities such as the engagement and consultation with multi-stakeholders and gender integration throughout the process. The ASEAN Centrality and consensus in decision-making throughout the drafting process and the negotiations were highlighted. The meeting discussed the possibility of the ASEAN leaders adopting the instruments by 2024.
Chair of the meeting and Representative of Thailand to the AICHR, Prof. Dr. Amara Pongsapich thanked all delegates for their active participation and valuable contribution. She commended all the parties’ commitment to work in a collaborative manner, and their ambition to create an enabling environment to allow for the full realisation of environmental rights in ASEAN.
This meeting benefited from the technical support and collaboration with the UN agencies, including the United Nations Environment Programme, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.