EOP on Human Rights and the Environment – HRC37 Resolution L.19

A/HRC/37/L.19

Explanation of Position by the United States of America
as delivered by Jason Mack

Human Rights Council, 37th Session
Geneva, March 22, 2018

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States concurs with other members of the Council that protection of the environment is vitally important and contributes to sustainable development, human well-being, and the enjoyment of human rights.  We also recognize that respect for human rights, including the rights of freedom of expression, freedom of association, and peaceful assembly, contributes to good environmental policymaking, and in this regard, welcome this resolution’s recognition of the important role played by human rights defenders.  In this spirit, we join consensus on this resolution and thank its sponsors for their constructive engagement on the text.

At the same time, we remain concerned about the general approach of placing environmental concerns in a human rights context and about addressing them in fora that do not have the necessary expertise.  For related reasons, while we recognize the efforts of the Special Rapporteur and UN bodies in this area, we do not support all of their projects or publications, including several aspects of the Special Rapporteur’s Framework Principles on human rights and the environment, and we take this opportunity to affirm that the Framework Principles themselves do not reflect or enshrine any new human rights obligations or commitments.

We note the longstanding and well known concerns of the United States regarding the “right to development,” and the progressive realization of economic, social, and cultural rights, as well as our concerns about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which we will raise in more detail in our Explanation of Position at the end of Agenda Item 3.

Thank you.