New International Pact Protects Human Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment

French President Emmanuel Macron has committed to actively supporting a global pact to protect the human right to a clean and healthy environment. On June 24, 2017, Macron, at the Sorbonne with 800 in attendance, accepted the draft Global Pact for the Environment, and declared that France would sponsor it in the UN General Assembly. Elisabeth Haub School of Law Professor Nicholas Robinson was one of two Americans in the jurists gathered, and with California’s former Governor Schwarzenegger, was only one of three Americans at the Sorbonne session.

French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius, who also presided over the Paris COP 21 conference on climate change, stated that the Pact will outline rights and duties, provide for reparations to be made in case of a breach, and introduce the “polluter pays” principle, holding them legally responsible or compelling them to adopt green laws. In addition, Article 16* of the Pact, the Resilience Principle, derives from Professor Robinson’s article, “The Resilience Principle,” 5 IUCN Academy of Environmental Law E-Journal 19-17 (2014). Some fifty jurists from around the world accepted this principle and chose to include it in the Global Pact for the Environment, as presented to President Macron.

Next, Professor Robinson will be presenting the Pact to the International Law Commission of the UN on July 19th in Geneva. The pact should eventually be put to the United Nations for adoption as an international treaty which would impose legally-binding obligations on signatory states.

*”The Parties shall take necessary measures to maintain and restore the diversity and capacity of ecosystems and human communities to withstand environmental disruption and degradation and to recover and adapt.”

Sources and Further Reading:

France’s Macron to Back Push for Global Environment Rights Pact, Reuters, June 24, 2017.

Macron, Schwarzenegger Back Global Pact on Environment, France 24, June 25, 2017.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *