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Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment

Purpose of the Mandate

The mandate on human rights and the environment exists to:

  • examine the human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment
  • promote best practices of the use of human rights in environmental policymaking
  • Identify challenges and obstacles to the full realization of human rights relating to the enjoyment of a healthy environment
  • Conduct country visits and responds human rights violations

Learn about why a healthy environment is integral to fully enjoying a wide range of human rights

About the mandate

The Human Rights Council established the mandate for the Independent Expert on human rights and the environment in 2012 (resolution 19/10). Mr. John Knox was appointed the first Independent Expert on human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment for a three year term. His mandate was further extended in March 2015 as a Special Rapporteur for another three years (resolution 28/11). In March 2018, the Human Rights Council further extended the mandate (resolution 37/8) and appointed Mr. David. R. Boyd as the Special Rapporteur for three years.

Learn what the Special Rapporteur is mandated to do, and see resolutions related to the environment

Current Mandate Holder

David R. Boyd, Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment David R. Boyd is an associate professor of law, policy, and sustainability at the University of British Columbia. He has a PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies from UBC, a law degree from the University of Toronto, and a business degree from the University of Alberta. His career has included serving as the executive director of Ecojustice, appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada, and working as a special advisor on sustainability for Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Read David R. Boyd’s full biography

Key Documents

Framework Principles

These 16 principles set out the basic obligations of States under human rights law as they relate to the enjoyment of a safe and healthy environment.

PDF: Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish

Illustrated version PDF in English

Good practices on the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment

The Special Rapporteur provides a study on good practices in the implementation and promotion of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

PDF: Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish

Latest Thematic Reports

Good practices on the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment: The Special Rapporteur provides a study on good practices in the implementation and promotion of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. View report page | View document A/HRC/43/53

Safe climate: The Special Rapporteur illustrates the devastating effects of the current global climate, and the crucial role for human rights in catalyzing action to address climate change. View report page | View document A/74/161

Clean air and the right to a healthy and sustainable environment: In this report, the Special Rapporteur explores the right to breathe clean and the negative impact of air pollution on the enjoyment of many human rights. View report page | View document A/HRC/40/55

Latest Country Reports

Mission to Norway (12-23 September 2019)
View document A/HRC/43/53/Add.2

Mission to Fiji (7-18 December 2018)
View document A/HRC/43/53/Add.1



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Special Procedures
Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
Recent Thematic Reports
Contact Information

Mr. David R. Boyd
Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
Palais des Nations, 8-14, Avenue de la Paix. 1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
+41 22 917 9159
srenvironment@ohchr.org
Follow @SRenvironment on Twitter

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