Human Rights, Environmental Protection, and the Sustainable Development Goals

24 Washington International Law Journal 517 (2015)

Wake Forest Univ. Legal Studies Paper

20 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2015  

John H. Knox

Wake Forest University - School of Law

Date Written: September 1, 2015

Abstract

In recent years, international human rights tribunals and other bodies have identified ways that environmental harm can interfere with the enjoyment of human rights, and have clarified that States have obligations to protect human rights against such interference. For example, States have duties to provide access to environmental information, to protect rights of free expression and association in relation to environmental issues, and to provide for participation in environmental decision-making. This article examines how well the draft Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”) proposed by the United Nations Open Working Group reflect the human rights obligations relating to environmental protection. It concludes that the proposed SDGs include goals that would promote those obligations, but that the specific targets are often written in language that is neither concrete nor closely linked to existing human rights obligations.

Keywords: human rights, environment, sustainable development goals

JEL Classification: K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Knox, John H., Human Rights, Environmental Protection, and the Sustainable Development Goals (September 1, 2015). 24 Washington International Law Journal 517 (2015); Wake Forest Univ. Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2660392

John H. Knox (Contact Author)

Wake Forest University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States

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