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Published: 10:09, July 29, 2022 | Updated: 10:23, July 29, 2022
Access to healthy environment now a universal human right
By Xinhua
Published:10:09, July 29, 2022 Updated:10:23, July 29, 2022 By Xinhua

Members of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus and volunteers perform an environmental clean-up in the UN-enforced buffer zone separating the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island, near Troulli about 17 kilometers north of Larnaca, on Nov 12, 2021. (ETIENNE TORBEY / AFP)

UNITED NATIONS – The UN General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution declaring access to clean, healthy and sustainable environment a universal human right.

Adapting a similar resolution from the Human Rights Council last year, the resolution, with 161 votes in favor and eight abstentions, calls on states, international organizations, and businesses to take more steps to ensure a healthy environment for all.

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The international community has given universal recognition to this right and brought us closer to making it a reality for all.

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General, UN

Welcoming the “historic” decision, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commended the member states for coming together against the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

"The resolution will help reduce environmental injustices, close protection gaps and empower people, especially those that are in vulnerable situations, including environmental human rights defenders, children, youth, women and indigenous peoples," he said in a statement.

It will also help states meet their environmental and human rights obligations more quickly, he added.

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"The international community has given universal recognition to this right and brought us closer to making it a reality for all," he said.

In 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm, which ended with its own historic declaration, was the first one to place environmental issues at the forefront of international concerns and marked the start of a dialogue between industrialized and developing countries on the link between economic growth, the pollution of the air, water and the ocean, and the well-being of people around the world.

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