The voice of the civil society was heard by the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conferences (СОР27)!

The Center for international environmental law mobilized more than 170 organizations, one of which is BSPB, to demand that governments reinstate the human right of all to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment in the outcomes of the COP27. Although this human right was acknowledged in July 2022 by the 161 members state  of the UN, it was not mentioned in the last drafts before the final results of the Conference. We insisted in front of the Parties to bring back this reference to ensure that COP27 would build upon the recognition of the right by the UN General Assembly this summer.

Our call was heard and the outcomes from COP27 are the first decisions in an international environmental negotiation that refer explicitly to the right:

“Acknowledging that the climate change is a common concern of humankind, Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligation on human rights, the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity.”

The COP27 outcomes sadly fail to deliver the mitigation ambition that would be required to protect this right effectively and it will take many efforts for us to compel governments and private actors to conform their acts to their responsibility with regards to the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

But with this explicit reference included in the Sharm El Sheikh outcomes, we have made one little step towards greater coherence and have contributed to opening the path for the effective integration of the right in environmental policies.

In Bulgaria there is still insufficient information about the challenges in front of the society due to the climate change. On other continents and even in our neighboring countries this topic is a subject of discussions on every level, the information is shared, citizens are informed, and actions are taken, here it is largely neglected. At the same time our country is exposed to the serious risk of desertification and we are not protected from the extreme natural cataclysms such as draught, floods, storms, etc. It is imperative to take active measures, to organize informational campaigns with regards to the mitigation and adaptation to the climate change, based upon the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment along with other human rights.

The necessity of actions towards the climate change will confront us with the necessity of putting pressure on the institutions, responsible for the better adaptation and mitigation policies of their consequences on people and nature.

Photo: Gustavo Fring/Pexels

_____________

Тhe United Nations Climate Change Conferences are yearly conferences held in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), named shortly COP27, is the 27th Climate change conference, held from 6th till 20th of November in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. The Climate conference is an annual formal meeting of the UNFCCC parties since 1995, to assess progress in dealing with climate change. From 2011  to 2015 the meeting were used to negotiate the Paris Agreement as part of the Durban platform, which created a general path towards climate action. Any final text of a COP must be agreed by consensus.