New Report Finds ASEAN Countries Have Several Options to Strengthen Right to Healthy Environment

AKP Phnom Penh, ASEAN countries recognising the right to a healthy environment are in a better position to tackle mounting challenges, according to a new report by a Swedish research institute.
In a statement released earlier this week, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law noted that ASEAN countries rank among the highest in the world for forest and mangrove loss.
They are also among world leaders in terms of extinction of plant and animal species, climate-related disasters, household air pollution and smoke from forest fires.
The institute said the report released in Bangkok Tuesday was written by 13 law and policy researchers, mostly from ASEAN countries and including two from Cambodia.
“The report shows how governments and judicial systems in the ASEAN region have recognised the right to a healthy environment in laws, policies and court decisions and proposes options for strengthening implementation,” the statement said.
It said rights to a healthy environment included clean air, a safe climate, access to safe water and adequate sanitation, healthy and sustainably produced food, non-toxic environments in which to work, study and play, and healthy biodiversity and ecosystems.
Lead author Claudia Ituarte-Lima said the report highlighted that “several Southeast Asian countries, to their credit, have taken important steps in recognising the right to a healthy environment.
“However, progress made by governments, lawmakers and courts is not always well-recognised or published internationally,” she said
At the same time, “women and youth organisations are leading important initiatives as rights-holders.
“They are providing important lessons about protecting our right to a healthy environment, not only for people now, but also for future generations.
“This publication is a valuable reference for all who are seeking to understand the ASEAN landscape of environmental rights.”
Ituarte-Lima added that the current race to meet COVID-19 challenges “requires deep, systemic change to make healthy environments a reality for everyone.
“Recognising the right to a healthy environment highlights what is at stake — and ensures no one gets left behind in this race,” she said.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press