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Overview of the Mandate


HR and Environment © EPA/DIEGO AZUBEL
A heavy haze of smog hangs over China's capital as traffic runs along a major thoroughfare in Beijing, China, 25 July 2008
© EPA/DIEGO AZUBEL

Building on several other resolutions related to human rights and the environment and human rights and climate change, the Human Rights Council established the mandate for the Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment during its 19th session in Resolution 19/10. Mr. John Knox began working on the mandate in August 2012.

In 2015, the Human Rights Council decided to extend the mandate of the current mandate holder as a special rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment for a period of 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 on human rights and the environment (as of 1 August 2018).

Through its resolution (37/8), the Council requested the Special Rapporteur, inter alia:

(a) To continue to study the human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, in consultation with Governments, relevant international organizations and intergovernmental bodies, including the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Development Programme, and relevant multilateral environment agreements, human rights mechanisms, local authorities, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations, including those representing indigenous peoples and other persons in vulnerable situations, the private sector and academic institutions; 

(b) To continue to identify, promote and exchange views on good practices relating to human rights obligations and commitments that inform, support and strengthen environmental policymaking, especially in the area of environmental protection, and in that regard to disseminate and consider updating documents elaborated by the previous mandate holder, as appropriate; 

(c) To promote and report on the realization of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, taking into account the reports and documents produced by the previous mandate holder, and to disseminate his or her findings by, inter alia, continuing to give particular emphasis to practical solutions with regard to their implementation;

(d) To work on identifying challenges and obstacles to the full realization of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and protection gaps thereto, including in the context of sustainable development; 

(e) To continue to contribute to and participate in, where appropriate, intergovernmental conferences and meetings relevant to the mandate, including at the United Nations Environment Assembly; 

(f) To develop a dialogue, liaise and collaborate with all relevant stakeholders with a view to enhancing public awareness of the human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment; 

(g) To conduct country visits and to respond promptly to invitations from States; 

(h) To apply a gender perspective by, inter alia, considering the particular situation of women and girls and identifying gender-specific discrimination and vulnerabilities, and addressing good practices where women and girls act as agents of change in safeguarding and managing sustainably the environment; 

(i) To work in close coordination, while avoiding unnecessary duplication, with other special procedures and subsidiary organs of the Human Rights Council, relevant United Nations bodies, agencies, funds and programmes, including the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Development Programme, the treaty bodies and international and regional organizations, and multilateral environmental agreements, taking into account the views of other stakeholders, including relevant regional human rights mechanisms, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and academic institutions; 

(j) To submit an annual report, including conclusions and recommendations, to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly.