Healthy environment is a human right

A historic UN resolution recognizes access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right


Everybody has the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. This is how the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has declared a healthy environment as a universal human right. From the food we eat to the air we breathe, human and animal health depends deeply on the health of the environment. Therefore, respecting, protecting and promoting healthy environments is fundamental not only to sustain life on Earth, but also to defend all human rights.

Environmental damages compromise the enjoyment of all the other human rights, stresses the UNGA resolution. “The impact of climate change, the unsustainable management and use of natural resources, the pollution of air, land and water, the unsound management of chemicals and waste, the resulting loss of biodiversity and the decline in services provided by ecosystems interfere with the enjoyment of a clean, healthy and sustainable environment”, affirms the UNGA resolution. The livestock sector should actively contribute to address global environmental challenges and play a major role in the transition towards a more sustainable future. A future where healthy environments are no longer just an option, but a respected human right.

With 161 votes in favour, 8 abstained and zero against, the landmark resolution adopted by the UNGA on July 28th not only recognizes the fundamental importance of healthy environments as a human right but also calls for greater global efforts to make this right respected everywhere in the world. With this historic move, the United Nations call upon countries, international organizations, business enterprises and all relevant stakeholders to scale up global efforts and ensure access to a better environment for all. This includes adopting policies, enhancing international cooperation, strengthening capacity-building and sharing good practices.

The work of the FAO LEAP’s global community becomes now more crucial than ever. Using science-based methods and tools, the multi-stakeholder partnership provides reliable guidelines to assess the environmental footprint of livestock and supports evidence-based decisions and climate action. By assessing the environmental impact of livestock, FAO LEAP partners can really contribute to reaching the resolutions’ ambitions. Starting from livestock we can help address global challenges and make environments healthier, agrifood systems more sustainable, air cleaner and  ecosystems more biodiverse. 

The adoption of this UNGA resolution marks the beginning of new era for all stakeholders involved in the food supply chain. The livestock sector cannot ignore the importance of environmental health and its role in achieving the four bettersas a whole: better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.



Learn more:

·         UNGA resolution

·         UN news

·         Livestock and the environment

·         FAO climate change