Human rights and the environment, a priority for the Council of Europe
Loss of biodiversity, climate change, extinction of species, pollution and the overall degradation of the earth´s ecosystems have a profound global impact on the enjoyment of human rights and require the widest possible cooperation by all the Council of Europe Member States.
This was confirmed by the High-Level Conference on Environmental Protection and Human Rights held in Strasbourg on 27 February 2020 and upheld by the three successive presidencies of the Committee of Ministers (Georgia, Greece, Germany).
The jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the conclusions of the Committee of the European Social Charter affirm the undeniable inter-connections between environmental protection and human rights.
The Council of Europe’s role in mainstreaming the environmental dimension into human rights is timelier than ever.
The Steering Committee of Human Rights will update its Manual and prepare a draft Recommendation to the Member States conveying common European standards in the area. The HELP Programme will highlight the nexus between human rights and the environment through a new on-line training course for legal professionals. New cooperation projects are being devised to support Member States in addressing the serious threats to human rights posed by local and global environmental degradation.
The Council of Europe is also working hard to support its member States in responding to environmental crimes and strengthening international judicial cooperation in the field.
Environmental crimes do not only threaten ecosystems and the survival of thousands of plant and animal species, but they also cause many diseases that reduce life expectancy in all Member States. They can cause severe uprooting, inflictions and untimely deaths of millions of people.