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8 Jun 2016
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Human Rights and Environmental Protection for Sustainable Development - Pilot

3 Weeks
Programme Area
Environment, Environmental Governance and Law, International Law, Other
Event Focal Point Email
UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment
Public – by registration
Mode of Delivery
Data Protection and Privacy
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The adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represents an unprecedented moment in human history for global governance and the protection of human rights (individuals) and our planet (the environment). Both humans and the environment are the center of the post-2015 development agenda. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and its adverse impacts not only undermine the ability of countries to achieve the SDGs, but also to fully realize and protect human rights throughout the entire planet. Policy makers, experts and advocates are being faced with the challenge of developing and implementing effective solutions to counteract climate change and protect the environment with a human rights approach.

In partnership with UNDP, UNEP and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, this course aims to empower policy makers, experts and advocates with the tools needed to develop and implement innovative public polices and laws for the protection of the environment and human rights, specifically targeting the relevant SDGs, thus contributing to their achievement.

At the end of this course, learners will be able to:
- Explain the basic concepts of human rights, environmental protection and sustainable development;
- Identify the Sustainable Development Goals and targets that concern the environment;
- Explain the relationship between human rights and environmental protection;
- Distinguish and apply the international human rights norms relating to the protection of the environment;
- Review how international norms for the protection of the environment under a human rights approach translate into national action;
- Analyze and compare good examples of national law and public policies related to the protection of the environment under a human rights approach;
- Present a case example of a good national public policy for the protection of the environment under a human rights approach.

The course is divided into three modules. Each module is more or less one week long.
Module 1 - Introduction to Human Rights and the Environment: Covers the basic principles and concepts of human rights, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with emphasis on the goals and targets most relevant to environmental protection, and the relationship between human rights and the environment.
Module 2 - Human Rights Norms relating to the Protection of the Environment and Sustainable Development: Explains the bases for the application of human rights to environmental issues, the procedural and substantive obligations relating to the environment, Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, as well as the obligations relating to vulnerable groups.
Module 3 - Implementation of a Human Rights Approach to Environmental Protection: Gives examples of constitutions that have incorporated a right to a healthy environment, good practices in procedural and substantive environmental protection, as well as good practices in the protection of groups particularly vulnerable to environmental harm.
The course has approximately 30 learning hours. On average you need to commit around 10 hours/week.The learning-path has some degree of flexibility but you should respect specific deadlines for assessments and collaborative activities.

The course is composed of interactive lessons, which help participants to acquire the required knowledge necessary for the tasks, discussion forums and quizzes. Good practices from around the world will serve as practical examples of public policies and legislation being implemented for the protection of human rights and the environment. Practical examples and case study analysis will allow participants to apply the knowledge gained throughout the course and provide a hands-on solution to a human rights-based environmental problem. At the end of the course, participants are expected to present a good case example of a national public policy for the protection of the environment under a human rights approach. A number of additional resources are available for participants to further deepen their knowledge on the subject. Throughout the course, participants will actively interact with their peers and the facilitator. The course facilitator will guide discussions on selected topics, which will stir knowledge and experience sharing among participants.

This course is designed for government officials from ministries of the environment, energy, development, water, foreign affairs and other related areas. It also targets international civil servants, NGO representatives, academics, private sector professionals and graduates working in the fields of environmental law/management, international relations/politics and sustainable development.

Certificates: Participants who successfully complete all the course activities and assessments will receive a Certificate of Completion jointly issued by UNITAR, UNDP and UNEP.
Technical Requirements: The course is delivered through UNITAR’s Virtual Learning Environment and participants will require a reliable internet connection throughout its duration. See full list of requirements.
Click here to download the course brochure.