Foreign Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed today, represented the Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Abdulla Shahid in a high-level panel discussion organised by the Universal Rights Group at the sidelines of the ongoing 46th Session of the Human Rights Council. The virtual event held under the theme “The Case for the Universal Recognition of the Right to a Safe, Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment” was attended by a number of high-level dignitaries and Member States of the Core Group on Human Rights and Environment.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the event, Foreign Secretary Ghafoor noted the prolonged discussions focusing on the relationship between human rights and the environment in the international arena. He highlighted the Maldives’ central role in bringing the issue of climate change and human rights to the forefront of international debates and the resulting appointment of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment in 2012. He also stated that human rights cannot be fully realised in the absence of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
Foreign Secretary Ghafoor then proceeded to explain the multidimensional nature of environmental degradation and its effects on the security of people, with a special focus on the domestic context. He explained the vulnerable nature of the Maldives, as a country built on an ecosystem that is constantly under the threat of extreme climate events such as sea-level rise. Foreign Secretary Ghafoor then shed light on the efforts of the current Administration to protect the environment, and especially to improve marine health. Finally, Foreign Secretary Ghafoor called upon the members of the United Nations to contribute to the consultative process carried out by the Core Group on Human Rights and Environment to reinforce collective action towards the recognition of the rights associated with environment.
The high-level Panel on the Case for the Universal Recognition of the Right to a Safe, Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment was held to stimulate discussions on identifying the possible outcomes of recognising the Right to Environment. It also featured the presentation of a report on the subject of discussion by the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment David Boyd, his predecessor John Knox and the Executive Director of Universal Rights Group Marc Limon.