The Right of Children and Youth to a Healthy Environment: Building an Agenda for Justice, Equity and Empowerment
From the inextricably linked climate emergency and biodiversity crisis to air and water pollution, deforestation, mining, pesticides, and waste, the breadth, and diversity of environmental challenges confronting North America is both astounding and sobering. No group is more vulnerable to these forms of environmental harm and injustice than children and young people, especially those facing intersecting inequities linked to race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation and other characteristics. Social, racial, and environmental justice are deeply connected, as the most disadvantaged populations tend to be those most affected by environmental catastrophes and most marginalized in public policy decision-making.
At the same time, as children and youth have proven beyond doubt, they have crucial perspectives, expertise, and the capacity to be powerful agents of change.
The International Institute for Child Rights and Development teamed up with the Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative (CERI) and the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) and others to host a virtual intergenerational consultation on the right of children and youth to a healthy environment for the North American region, as part of CERI’s series of regional consultations with children and youth across the world. The consultations took place July 15-18, 2021. In the run-up to the consultations, IICRD was involved in lots of activities including supporting an Intergenerational Advisory Committee and co-hosting a webinar with Royal Roads University.
The result of these efforts is to build a framework for regional advocacy and contribute to a Global Charter on Children's Rights and the Environment, a set of key guiding principles on children’s rights and the environment that provides a strong foundation for States and other stakeholders to adopt global standards that catalyze radical and comprehensive change for children worldwide.
Learn more about this exciting regional consultation and how you can still get involved.
The Phoenix Manifesto & Beyond
On January 24, 2022, a final report - 'The Story of the Phoenix Consultation' - based on the input of over a hundred participating youth, adult allies, and Elders from the Phoenix Consultation in July of 2021 was launched on the U.N. International Day of Education. Facilitated and led by children and youth from the consultation itself, the event highlighted key facts of the Phoenix Manifesto (also available in French and Spanish) and final report, including several recommendations based on the emergent themes of the discussions and presentations that took place at the North American consultation in July 2021.
Click here to view recordings of the North American regional consultation: “The Right of Children and Youth to a Healthy Environment: Building an Agenda for Justice, Equity and Empowerment” (July 2021)
Click here to view a recording of the report launch event "Mobilizing Young People's Agenda: Climate Justice and Environmental Rights" (January 2022)
As the work on children's rights to a healthy environment carries on, head to https://childrightsenvironment.org/ to follow the drafting of the General Comment No. 26 (General Comment on Children's Rights and the Environment with a Special Focus on Climate Change) led by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child with the voices of children and young people.