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HRC44: Nordic-Baltic countries address the annual panel on the rights of the child (I)

Human Rights Council 44th Session
Annual full day meeting on the rights of the child
Theme: Realizing the rights of the child through a healthy environment
1 July 2020
Nordic-Baltic Intervention by
H.E. Ambassador Katrin Saarsalu-Layachi, Estonia

Madame President,
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Estonia.
We thank the distinguished panellists for their insightful interventions on this highly relevant topic.
Safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is the basis of our very existence. For too long has this, however, been taken for granted. Environmental damage affects us all, but has particular consequences for children with lasting effects throughout their lives.
Environmental degradation directly hampers many human rights and thus also the rights enshrined in the convention on the rights of child, the most widely ratified human rights instrument. This implies that States need to address the human rights violations in the convention on the rights of the child caused by environmental damage. If not they will fail in their implementation of the convention. 
The fact that children worldwide have become key advocates for environmental rights and are exercising their right to participate in defending a healthy environment by demanding immediate climate action clearly shows that there is an urgent need for states to step up their efforts in this regard, including by providing a safe and empowering context for environmental human rights defenders.
Prevention is key in promoting and protecting all human rights, but it is even more so concerning those that are realized through a healthy environment. It is high time to act and act together, engaging all stakeholders, including children, in preserving a healthy environment, as it is our duty to provide children with a safe childhood here and now.
We agree that states must urgently act to respect, protect and fulfil the  rights of the child related to environmental damage, pollution and toxic substances, including by meeting their human rights obligations and responsibilities contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Paris Agreement and other international human rights and environmental instruments.
Let us join our efforts in minimizing our environmental footsteps to ensure every child a safe and fostering childhood with full respect for their human rights.
Thank you!