Gaps in international law and environment
Side event on Global Pact for the Environment: Strengthening the implementation of international environmental law
Remarks by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
United Nations – 10 December 2018
Thank you so much Professor,
Dear colleagues and friends,
It’s a great honor and pleasure for my Senegalese colleague Adboulaye Barro, for my team and me to welcome you all here this afternoon, as we are gathered to discuss together the ways and means to strengthen the implementation of international environmental law.
And for that, we feel extremely privileged to have with us and for us, so to speak, some of the world’s most renowned and respected experts in this field. Their knowledge and commitment are second to none, and we are very grateful to each and everyone of them for taking the time out of their very busy schedule and for joining us today. So a warm word of appreciation, on behalf of all of us, to John Cruden, Roy Lee, Claudia DeWindt, Nicholas Robinson, and Yann Aguila. On a more personal note, if I may, I happen to know Yann Naguila quite well ; his commitment to the global pact for the environment is truly a source of admiration and inspiration and he is a national and international treasure.
Today we’ll have the opportunity to hear these highly-qualified legal experts to exchange views on the report released by the UN-Secretary General on Monday, and entitled “Gaps in International Law and Environment, Related Instruments Towards a Global Pact for the Environment.”
It is the very first report on international law in the context of the “Global Pact for the Environment”, in accordance with the resolution adopted on May 10th by the UN General Assembly on this very issue and entitled “Towards the Global Pact for the Environment”.
To put things a little bit into perspective, it’s important I believe to keep in mind that for more than thirty years, the international community has been trying to find multilateral responses to the unprecedented degradation of the environment and build a common forum for sustainable development.
The Stockholm Declaration, the Brundtland Report of 1987 and the Rio Declaration of 1992 established the main principles of international environmental law. In 2015, the landmark 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement reinforced our commitments in this regard.
So, the Global Pact for the Environment doesn’t come from nowhere, it is solidly rooted in the UN agenda. The pact is a key priority for my government and for the unprecedented number of countries, more than one hundred actually, that that co-sponsored the resolution I was referring to. Its aim is to advance our collective response to environmental challenges. It is intended to become a tool to allow states and citizens to better implement the 2030 Agenda. That’s what our discussions are all about.
As you know, the environment is one of the three pillars of this agenda and is at the heart of seven of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (to be more specific, the numbers 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15).
They are based on the extremely innovative concept of sustainable development, reconciling the fight against extreme poverty, inequality and the preservation of the planet, in a global and universal way. The coherent and integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires the consolidation of the global principles of environmental law on a broad scale given the current and emerging challenges of sustainable development.
Against this backdrop, the report of the Secretary General, which is again at the heart of our exchanges today, will serve as a basis for the discussions of a working group established by the General Assembly resolution adopted on May 10th . The working group is due to meet in Nairobi on January the 14th. Our capitals are currently examining the report very carefully. The main objective of this side event is therefore to provide high profile expertise and high-profile expert commentaries on this report that could contribute to the discussions here in New York and in Nairobi.
As we are celebrating today the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human rights, we must indeed look toward the future and continue to promote international law - actually today more than ever I believe. We are convinced that it is time to recognize rights such as the right to a healthy environment and that a Global Pact for the Environment will provide a unique opportunity to achieve this.
I am aware of the commitment you all share here today and again I want to conclude by thanking each and everyone of you personally for attending, with a special word of gratitude to our experts and panelists.
Un grand merci à tous.