Environmental justice: securing our right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

This paper forms the basis for a new UNDP strategy for engaging in environmental justice (including climate justice) as an integrated and collaborative effort that brings together the rule of law, human rights, governance and nature, climate and energy workstreams. The paper presents insights and key findings from an extensive consultation process that aimed at identifying entry points and suggestions for interventions in this area, as well as a three-pronged approach for UNDP’s environmental justice work: i) establishing legal frameworks at national and international levels, applying innovative and human rights-based approaches (HRBA) for respecting, protecting and fulfilling environmental rights, notably the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and other human rights affected by the planetary crises; ii) strengthening people-centered and effective institutions, especially those related to justice and human rights, to ensure they are accessible to all populations within their purview, and are equipped to monitor, enforce and implement environmental law, as well as promote the environmental rights of current and future generations; and iii) increasing access to justice and legal empowerment in environmental and climate change matters, so that people can be active players in combatting the planetary crises by enforcing, claiming and defending their environmental rights, and directly contribute to policy change.