The impact of environmental damage on children’s rights is not a new issue. Yet, despite data explicitly linking ecological harm to child rights violations, increased awareness of environmental crises and numerous international agreements, the understanding of the relationship between children’s rights and the environment is still in its infancy.

To foster a deeper understanding of the content and implications of the Convention on the Rights of the Child around issues concerning the natural world, the Committee on the Rights of the Child dedicated its 2016 Day of General Discussion (DGD) to the topic of children’s rights and the environment.

The Committee has now released the outcome report for the 2016 DGD. It highlights the main issues discussed during the event, and also sets out the recommendations formed during the event – which form the basis for taking the environmental rights of children forward.

The day was a milestone in bringing together knowledge on the environment and children’s rights across different areas of expertise. Terre des Hommes was influential in proposing the topic to the Committee and became its lead NGO partner for the event.

To capitalise on this progress, Terre des Hommes is co-hosting a public consultation and expert meeting on children’s rights and the environment in Geneva from 22-23 June.

The consultation will contribute to the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John Knox, by studying the human rights obligations concerning children’s rights and the natural world.

Discussions, challenges and lessons learned during the meeting will be incorporated into Mr. Knox’s report to the Human Rights Council, presented in March 2018.

The public consultation will be held from 10:00am to 12:00pm on 22 June 2017 in Room XI, Palais des Nations. Panel guests include the Ambassador of the Republic of Fiji to the UN Nazhat Shameem Khan, OHCHR’s Ben Schachter, UNICEF‘s Marilena Viviani, Special Rapporteur John Knox and Terre des Hommes’s Jonas Schubert. The expert meeting will follow the consultation and will be held in the Palais Wilson on 22 and 23 June.

As well as the 2016 DGD, the event builds on the UN Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and waste Baskut Tuncak’s report on children and toxic waste, the OHCHR report on climate change and children’s rights and on other recent initiatives.