In November 2021, the One Ocean Hub submitted written evidence to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment on ‘The right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment – Toxic-free places to live, work, study and play,’ building a on a previous Hub submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics and human rights on the life cycle of plastics. Hub researchers Graham Hamley, Tallash Kantai and Professor Elisa Morgera (University of Strathclyde) and Professor Bhavani Narayanaswamy (Scottish Association for Marine Science) contributed to the new submission, focusing on basic facts on ocean plastics & adverse impacts on human rights, States’ obligations and business responsibility to respect human rights. These build on ongoing work in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme on the human rights and environmental justice dimensions of ocean plastics. In addition, the submission presented good practices in empowering human-rights holders through transdisciplinary research, including children, women, and indigenous peoples. Drawing from the Hub’s experience, the evidence noted a significantly untapped potential to integrate human rights in ocean research with a view to:
- ensuring that scientific efforts respond to the needs of the most vulnerable, in the light of the human right to science; and
- rightsholders can contribute to research efforts, benefit from scientific advancements, and their legal empowerment can be enriched by an inter-disciplinary evidence base; and
- ensuring ocean research to take the form of equitable, transdisciplinary research collaborations with Global South countries.