U.S. Adviser for the Third Committee
New York, New York
October 19, 2023
Thank you, Chair and Mr. Special Rapporteur.
The United States has long recognized the relationship between human rights, environmental protection, and advancing environmental justice. A healthy environment supports the well-being and dignity of people around the world and the full enjoyment of all human rights.
We are extremely concerned about the safety of environmental defenders worldwide. We are deeply concerned by credible reports that in recent years, at least four land and environmental defenders were killed each week. More than one-third of these individuals were Indigenous.
Access to information and the ability for environmental defenders to exercise the rights to freedoms of expression and association are critically important. They not only provide critical protections for environmental defenders, but they ultimately ensure that environmental policy is fair and effective. Many environmental defenders are silenced when seeking access to information or trying to exercise these rights.
Together we must protect the environment, address the climate crisis, stop attacks on environmental defenders around the world, and promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses affecting those defenders.
Regarding investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS), we note that reform of ISDS procedures is already being addressed in the UN Commission on International Trade Law.
Mr. Special Rapporteur, how can you in your role accelerate countries’ implementation of Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration, thereby supporting and protecting environmental defenders?