Recht auf gesunde Umwelt - Right for healthy environment

Right to a healthy environment

Children have the right to grow up in a healthy environment.

We are committed to ensuring that children grow up healthy and can live out their human rights to the fullest!
A safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a prerequisite for this mission.

Recognise rights worldwide

The right to a healthy environment demands that our environment should be safe, clean, healthy and sustainable. We are committed to recognising this right worldwide.

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There is ample evidence of the damage caused by humans and the climate change they are causing. Ecosystems and biodiversity around the world are showing rapid decline.


We work to ensure that the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is recognised as a fundamental right worldwide.

The enjoyment of rights, especially those of children and young people, are closely connected to the enjoyment of a clean, safe and healthy (physical) environment.

Children are more vulnerable to the risks caused by the triple planetary crisis: climate change, pollution (chemicals, toxic substances and waste) and biodiversity loss because of their evolving physical and mental development. Climate change contributes to extreme weather events, water scarcity and food insecurity, air pollution or vector-borne and infectious diseases, that promote poverty, migration or flight and traumas.

Almost all the substantive rights of the child may be affected by the triple planetary crises: the right to life, survival and development, health, food, water and sanitation, education, rest, leisure and play, housing, identity and nationality, as well as freedom from all forms of violence. With the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, all states but one have committed themselves to doing everything in their power to protect the rights and best interests of the child, this is especially now urgent in the face of the triple planetary crises.

In recent years the topic around environmental rights/ Right to a clean, safe and healthy environment has become an existential issue that has been driven by children and younger people in particular. The World Future Council supports and accompanies the demands for a right for a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment together with its partners, has campaigned for the realisation of this right. After all, an intact natural environment is also a basic prerequisite for future generations to find a living environment and be able to exercise their rights as we do today.


UN Committee on the Rights of the Child: General Comment No. 26

In 2016 the UN-Committee on the Rights of the Child devoted its General Discussion Day to the issue of children’s rights and the environment. As a result of the consultations with children, youth, civil societies, states and UN organisations the Committee decided to develop a General Comment to address this urgent issue. The World Future Council participated and submitted the following input. (wird noch geliefert)

In August 2023, the General Comment No. 26 was launched. It is a landmark UN-document which recognises children’s right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as part of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It stresses the urgent need to address the adverse effects of environmental degradation, with a special focus on climate change, on the enjoyment of children’s rights. Furthermore, it clarifies the obligations of States to address environmental harm and climate change and what to do in determining what mitigation and adaptation measures to be taken to uphold Children’s rights to ensure that children live in a clean, healthy and sustainable world.  The Committee also explains how children’s rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child apply to environmental protection and confirms that children have a right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The World Future Council with its Youth Forum Youth:Present commented the first draft with a submission.

Read the document here.

Recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

In July 2022 the UN General Assembly declares access to clean and healthy environment a universal human right. Already in October 2021 the UN Human Rights Council recognised the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and called on the UN General Assembly to do the same.

A milestone for all stakeholders and civil societies among them the World Future Council who have worked intensively on this recognition.

Publications & Downloads

Article: Global call for the right to a healthy environment

This article describes our approach in calling on the UN Human Rights Council to recognise the right to a healthy environment as a human right.

Videos & Webinars

In the run-up to the publication of General Comment No. 26, we discussed the UN initiatives to advance the protection of children’s rights for a clean environment, their implications and perspectives.

Partners & Initiatives

Initiative for children’s environmental rights

The World Future Council is a global partner organisation of the Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative, which works to put children’s rights at the centre of environmental decision-making and action. Its overarching goal is to ensure international recognition of children’s fundamental right to a safe and healthy environment.

The National Coalition Germany – Network for the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child e. V.

The National Coalition Germany has made the realisation of children’s rights its programme.

Other areas



Samia Kassid

Samia Kassid

Senior Programme Manager

T: +49 (0) 40 3070914-0

Helena Bals

Helena Bals


T: +49 (0) 40 3070914-0