Connecting the environment with human rights

Using environmental and climate laws to realize the human right to adequate food and nutrition can help to overcome the escalating ecological crisis, states FIAN International’s new conceptual paper.

Tackling the environmental and climate crisis using a human rights-based approach is essential to restore vital ecosystem services and fight global hunger and malnutrition at the same time. In particular, the human right to adequate food and nutrition (RtFN) is critical to reshaping the prevailing agro-food system that does not only exacerbate hunger and malnutrition but is also harming both the environment and rural people. However, there remains a lack of understanding on, and recognition of, the interconnection of the environment and human rights at the international policy agenda. 

A new FIAN International conceptual paper, entitled ‘The Right to Food and Nutrition as Part of Environmental and Climate Justice’, aims to fill this gap by describing and analyzing relevant international environmental and climate laws in the context of international human rights laws and vice versa. It attempts to draw on synergies between the two legal landscapes to strengthen the realization of human rights, particularly the RtFN. 

The paper describes multilateral environmental agreements in the context of biological diversity, climate change, and chemicals and wastes that include human rights protections. It explains the role of the Voluntary Guidelines for Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forest (VGGTs) and the concept of agroecology in the field of environmental and climate justice which are a major part of FIAN’s advocacy in this area. It lists useful international environmental principles and explains mutually reinforcing aspects of the human rights and the environmental law regimes. The significance of corporate accountability for environmental harm receives particular attention.

The paper should serve as a resource document for environmental and human rights groups, activists, and affected communities to gain a better understanding of the tools provided in the two legal systems. A guide on the practical application of the presented policies and laws will be included in an upcoming “engagement paper”. 

You can download the publication here.
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