UN General Assembly declares access to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment a universal human right

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a new resolution affirming that every human has the right to access a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. The final vote tally was 161 in favor of the resolution, with eight countries abstaining from the vote: China, the Russian Federation, Belarus, Cambodia, Iran, Syria, Kyrgyzstan, and Ethiopia.

The resolution was put forth by member states Costa Rica, the Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia, and Switzerland last summer. They argued that the issue falls under the jurisdiction of existing international laws and the impacts of climate change—land degradation, misuse of natural resources, pollution, chemical waste, and biodiversity—are all at risk, which

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