The Environment and Human Rights: the International Community’s Responses to Emerging Local and Global Challenges

September 14, 2011 // 11:00am1:00pm
Event Co-sponsors: 
Environmental Change and Security Program

Recent natural disasters have confirmed that environmental damage can have negative implications for the effective enjoyment of human rights. While the many linkages between protection of human rights and protection of the environment have long been recognized, the use of a human rights-based approach to address this increasingly urgent challenge remains contested from both a policy and a legal point of view.

The United Nations has taken up the issue on numerous fronts. Recently, the Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a Resolution on human rights and environment. Other multilateral environment fora have also recognized in some way the need to take human rights into consideration when developing environmental policies and sustainable development.

This event will address the interrelation between environmental damage and
human rights, and examine how the international community—and in particular
the UN—has approached this issue at a local and global level and discuss
possible ways to optimize approaches and processes.
This event will address the interrelation between environmental damage and human rights, and examine how the international community—and in particular the UN—has approached this issue at a local and global level and discuss possible ways to optimize approaches and processes.

The event is part of the U.S.-Swiss Dialogue and being co-hosted by the Embassy of Switzerland and the Wilson Center.

Other partners include:




5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Event Speakers List: 
  • Geneva State Councilor
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State
  • Profesor of International Law, Graduate Institute of International Law and Development Studies; Director of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
  • Professor of International Law, University of Geneva; Member of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council
  • Professor and Director of Environmental Studies, Ohio University; Former ECSP Director
  • Ruth Greenspan Bell // Public Policy Scholar
    Research Associate, Center for Decision Sciences at Columbia Business School; Visiting Scholar, Environmental Law Institute
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