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UN guidance on children’s human rights to a healthy environment calls for protecting marine ecosystems, transforming industrial fisheries, and preventing marine pollution

Elisa Morgera and Sophie Shields

One Ocean Hub, University of Strathclyde, UK

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  • Child Rights,
  • ocean-climate nexus,
  • human rights,
  • FAO,
  • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,
  • General Comment No. 26
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This blog post provides is an initial reflection to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child's publication of the new General Comment No. 26 on children's rights focusing on climate change.

Published on 29 August 2023, this blog post provides some reflections from the One Ocean Hub, as part of an increasing network of UN bodies, on the relevance of the new General Comment No. 26 for ocean governance and ocean research, published on 22 August 2023. The comment emphasises the urgent need to address the adverse effects of environmental degradation, with a special focus on climate change. The comment clarifies that children have the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, which is implicit in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The comment also underscores the importance of protecting children’s right to education and culture in the context of ocean literacy, as a way to prevent discrimination against children. The comment calls for the application of a child rights-based approach to the environment, which requires the full consideration of all children’s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols. In particular, the comment clarifies cross-cutting obligations for States that are relevant to the protection of the marine environment.