The Birdlife Partnership calls on the United Nations to amend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the first time in over 70 years to add a new human right: the right to a healthy natural environment.
From the ashes of the Second World War, one of the biggest humanitarian crises in history, rose one of humankind’s greatest accomplishments: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Forged by experts from various cultures and backgrounds, and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, this sacred document maps out, in its 30 articles, the fundamental human rights that must be protected.
These rights protect us from slavery and torture, and empower us to enjoy freedom of movement and thought. They have stood the test of time, and after 70 years, remain as relevant as ever.
But one right is missing: Article 31 – our right to a healthy, natural environment, and this is a critical gap. In the 70 years since the UDHR was formed, our society has wreaked havoc on the natural world. From the air we breathe, to the water we drink, to the earth in which we grow much of our food, our environment impacts our health in many ways.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is thought to be linked to illegal wildlife trade and the destruction of natural habitats – human activities which dramatically increase the risk of new diseases emerging. The science is clear: human health and the environment are closely linked, and we can already see how our lack of care for the planet infringes other established universal human rights, such as the right to life, liberty and security.
In our letter to the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, BirdLife calls on the UN to:
- Include the right to a healthy natural environment – potentially an Article 31 – on the Agenda of the UN General Assembly and the UN Summit on Biodiversity in September 2020
- Include the right to a healthy natural environment in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Achieve this by December 2023 to mark the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration by the UN General Assembly.
The United Nations must show leadership by recognising a healthy natural environment as a human right as part of their response to the coronavirus crisis. We know adding a new human right is a sacred act. Our planet is equally sacred. There has perhaps never been a more important moment to enshrine a human right that would oblige us to respect it, for the benefit of all.
We appreciate your interest in securing this essential right for humankind. We hope that you, as an individual, as another NGO, environmental or otherwise, a company or a governmental agency, are ready to join us and mobilize the planet’s citizens, across all continents, seas and oceans, to back such a vital call. We welcome the opportunity to share your institution’s support on this website.
We invite organisations from around the world to join us.
BirdLife Partners supporting this campaign:
|Argentina – Aves Argentinas
Australia – BirdLife Australia
Austria – BirdLife Austria
Bahamas – Bahamas National Trust
Belarus – BirdLife Belarus
Belgium – Natuurpunt
Belize – Belize Audubon Society
Bhutan – Royal Society for the Protection of Nature
Bolivia – Associacion Armonia
Botswana – BirdLife Botswana
Brazil – SAVE Brazil
Bulgaria – Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds
Burkina Faso – NATURAMA
Canada – Birds Canada
Canada – Nature Canada
Chile – Comité Nacional Pro Defensa de la Flora y Fauna
China (Hong Kong) – Hong Kong Birdwatching Society
Chinese Taiwan – Chinese Wild Bird Federation
Colombia – Asociación Calidris
Cook Islands – Te Ipukarea Society
Croatia – Association BIOM
Cyprus – BirdLife Cyprus
Czechia – Czech Society for Ornithology
Denmark – Sansk Ornitologisk Forening
Djibouti – Djibouti Nature
Dominican Republic – Grupo Jaragua
|Ecuador – Aves y Conservación
Egypt – Nature Conservation Egypt
El Salvador – SalvaNATURA
Ethiopa – Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society
Faroe Islands – Faroese Ornithological Society
Fiji – NatureFiji-MareqetiViti
France – Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux
French Polynesia – Société d’Ornithologie de Polynésie
Georgia – Society for Nature Conservation
Germany – Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union
Ghana – Ghana Wildlife Society
Greece – Hellenic Ornitholgical Society
Hungary – Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület
India – Bombay Natural History Society
Indonesia – Burung Indonesia
Iraq – Nature Iraq
Ireland – BirdWatch Ireland
Italy – Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli
Japan – World Bird Society of Japan
Jordan – Jordan Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
Kazakhstan – Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan
Kuwait – Environment Protection Society
|Latvia – Latvian Ornithological Society
Lebanon – Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon
Liechtenstein – Botanisch-Zoologische Gesellschaft
Luxembourg – natur&ëmwelt
Madagascar – Asity Madagascar
Malawi – Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi
Malaysia – Malaysian Nature Society
Mauritius – The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation
Mexico – Pronatura
Montenegro – Center for Protection and Research of birds of Montenegro
Myanmar – Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association
Nepal – Bird Conservation Nepal
Netherlands – Society for the Protection of Birds
New Caledonia (to France) – Société Calédonienne d’Ornithologie
New Zealand – Forest & Bird
Nigeria – Nigerian Conservation Foundation
North Macedonia – Macedonian Ecological Society
Palau – Palau Conservation Society
Panama – Panama Audubon Society
Paraguay – Guyra
Philippines – Haribon Foundation