Recommendations for the draft ASEAN Declaration on Environmental Rights

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) has been spearheading the development of the ASEAN Declaration on Environmental Rights since 2022. This initiative aims to establish regional standards for implementing international norms concerning the rights to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. The World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) has devised recommendations to enhance the current draft, incorporating emerging international standards related to corporate accountability, reporting, and just transition planning. These recommendations are informed by the climate and energy benchmarks and WBA’s institutional efforts.

The development of the Declaration by ASEAN facilitates the acknowledgment of each individual’s right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. This encompasses access to clean air, a safe and stable climate, healthy ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as safe and adequate water, sanitation, sustainably produced food, and non-toxic surroundings. The inclusion of corporate actors is crucial for ASEAN governments to achieve the goals set forth in the declaration, making it essential to encompass the private sector within its scope.

By integrating the role of the private sector into the Declaration, ASEAN promotes a multistakeholder approach to upholding environmental rights. The WBA supports this Declaration as it fosters an environment conducive to the simultaneous advancement of human rights and environmental obligations, ultimately ensuring that no one is left behind in the implementation of the Declaration.

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