Human rights and the environment intersect, in that they play a key role in guaranteeing the recognition and implementation of relevant stakeholders' civil and political rights in the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Civil and political rights can be substantive or procedural in nature. Substantive civil and political rights recognise a specific 'substantive right', such as the right to a healthy environment and the preservation of unique cultural sites. Procedural civil and political rights serve to 'implement' substantive rights, such as adequate access to environmental information, participation in environmental decision-making processes, and access to justice (dispute resolution mechanisms). Their role is one of empowerment of all relevant stakeholders, in particular of vulnerable groups (such as indigenous peoples and local communities).
Several international and regional conventions and agreements which have been adopted to recognise and protect human rights intersect with the environment. These include the Rio Declaration, Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 169, among others.
We support the advancement and implementation of both substantive and procedural civil and political rights through our cross-cutting programmes and projects in Land use/forests, REDD+ and Safeguards.