Children’s rights and the right to a healthy environment – intersections and opportunities

11 Apr to 12 Apr

Coordinators: Aoife Daly (University College Cork ), Dina Lupin (University of Southampton)

Description of the meeting

This workshop aims to bring together expert scholars working in two areas of human rights law – those studying environmental human rights, and those working in children’s rights. The workshop will be a unique opportunity for these scholars to come together and think through synergies, theories and potential conflicts across and between these two fields. Children’s rights is a discipline which is wide-ranging, covering children’s best interests, their right to participate in politics as well as their right to protection from harm. The UN convention on the rights of the child includes the right of children to health, including a healthy environment. This right is under examine, although at this moment there is an increasing amount of attention to the right as children and youth advocate for their own rights in the climate crisis.

It is an exciting time in both disciplines- children’s rights and environmental rights. In 2022 the General Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The UN committee on the rights of the child is currently in the process of drafting a general comment on the rights of children to a healthy environment. Yet there has been limited research on the intersection of children’s rights and environmental rights taken together. There is much to be analyzed and theorized – how children’s rights might intersect with and diverge from adults rights for example. There are questions around children’s citizenship, as they usually do not have the right to vote to influence decisions relating to their environment. There are exciting instances of children’s climate advocacy to analyze in the framework of the UN convention on the rights of the child. There are numerous gaps to be filled when it comes to this space.

This workshop fills this gap, hosting papers and discussions on this topic. We will engage in critical discussions on what exactly the right to a healthy environment means, and potential consequences of developments in the area for children rights; particularly in relation to the UN convention on the rights of the child. The workshop will bring together an exciting diversity of scholars from different disciplines, including those who focus on children, and those who focus on the environment, to analyze and theorize a variety of issues in this space. It will also give the opportunity for junior and senior scholars, and those from civil society and academia, to converse and learn from each other.

Our experience in Oñati

I recently co-organised a workshop at the Oñati Institute on 'Children’s rights and the right to a healthy environment – intersections and opportunities' with my colleague Dr Dina Lupin.

Workshop attendees were stunned by the beauty of the Oñati town and countryside, as well as the  Institute itself.  We had the most fabulous time the intersections between children's rights and environmental rights, and the surroundings definitely inspired us. It was especially lovely to get to work with the ombudsperson representative Zuria and the activist young people.

The Oñati staff did an absolutely amazing job with hosting and ensuring the administrative side of the event ran smoothly. It was wonderful to get the opportunity to Oñati town by having meals at the local restaurants  duringthe days of the work.

Our workshop attendees were full of ideas and seemed hugely inspired by our two days together. I have left filled with the wish to keep the research and the connections going, and I also want to return to Oñati in the near future! It was truly one of the highlights of my academic career. 

Aoife Daly

For more information: 

Workshop Coordination Team

Avenida de la Universidad, 8
Apartado 28
20560 Oñati (Gipuzkoa) - Spain
T: +34 943 78... Ver teléfono