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Although there is still no United Nations treaty on the right to a healthy environment, the recognition of the right by the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council have helped solidify its status as customary international law. The overwhelming recognition of the right at the national and regional levels, and now at the United Nations, evidences greater uniformity and certainty in understanding human rights obligations relating to the environment. But what value do the resolutions add to the regional recognition of the right in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)? Through judicial and legislative developments, LAC has provided fertile ground for the flourishing of the right to a healthy environment. The region has seen some of the most innovative responses to the fragmented fields of human rights and the environment, providing a model for progressive legal development. Within this context, this essay focuses on how UN recognition of the new right may impact the burgeoning law on human rights and the environment in LAC. I argue that the resolutions should support the already rich environmental and climate jurisprudence in the region to realize the full potential of the right to a healthy environment. The right to a healthy environment can further solidify the role of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) as a leading human rights court in environmental protection, with wide-ranging implications for rights-based environmental (and climate) litigation.


Environmental Law | Human Rights Law | Law

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.