Global Child Forum

Global Child Forum Commends UN Committee's Historic Call for Action on Children's Right to a Clean and Sustainable Environment


Stockholm, August 31

Global Child Forum lauds the groundbreaking announcement by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, urging nations to take decisive action in safeguarding children’s environmental rights. This comes as the Committee, for the first time, issued authoritative guidance on the fundamental right of children to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. This groundbreaking decision encapsulates Member States’ obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Prompted by the escalating climate crisis, the Committee has delineated clear obligations in alignment with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This move underscores the urgency of addressing environmental threats infringing on children’s inherent rights.

A clear obligation to act

Children, globally among the most vulnerable to the repercussions of climate change and environmental harm, bear the brunt of a crisis for which they hold the least responsibility. The UN Committee’s announcement spotlights the undeniable right of children to a clean, sustainable environment and the rights to life, survival, development, health, education, and an adequate standard of living. This is legally significant as the guidance outlines the obligation for countries to act under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to ensure the rights of children, including Indigenous children, are protected from environmental degradation and climate change, and that they receive remedies for harms already caused.

Through providing guidelines to national governments that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Committee is now calling on these governments to, among other actions, regulate business activities to ensure that they follow due diligence procedures that integrate children’s rights impact assessments into their operations.

This new General Comment resonates with Global Child Forum’s mission as a leading advocate for children’s rights within the business sphere. Global Child Forum drives companies to integrate children’s rights into their environmental strategies and supply chain operations, ensuring that business advances children’s well-being and their right to a healthy living environment.

The impact of business

“This is an important stride towards ensuring a sustainable future for the world’s children. The recognition of children’s rights to a clean and healthy environment aligns with Global Child Forum’s commitment to safeguarding children’s rights within the business arena, especially as this is an area where companies have an enormous impact on children’s lives,” says Katarina Mellström, Secretary General of Global Child Forum, who notes that the guidance reinforces the requirement on states to take all necessary measures to protect children from the harms caused by the emissions or other activities of businesses.

David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, reinforces the commentary’s significance: “This new General Comment marks a vital step forward in recognising that every child on Earth has the right to live in a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. Governments must now take urgent action to address the global environmental crisis to breathe life into these inspiring words.”

Created in 1989 and ratified by 196 states, the Convention outlines universal children’s rights, encompassing the right to life, survival, development, health, and education. A General Comment provides legal guidance on what these rights imply for a specific topic or area of legislation. The now-published “General Comment No. 26 on children’s rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change” explicitly addresses the climate emergency, the collapse of biodiversity, and pervasive pollution, outlining countermeasures to protect the lives and life perspectives of children.

Global Child Forum underscores its commitment to empowering businesses to uphold children’s rights and, through its children’s rights and business benchmark, tools, training and services, fosters collaboration and transformation within the corporate sector.

General Comment No. 26 can be accessed here.

About Global Child Forum

Founded in 2009 by the Swedish Royal Family, Global Child Forum is a leading forum for children’s rights and business dedicated to innovative thinking, knowledge-sharing and networking.  Global Child Forum believes in the power and responsibility of business, working in partnership with all parts of society, to create a prosperous, sustainable and just society for the world’s children. In addition to forums, Global Child Forum delivers research perspectives, best practices and risk assessment tools designed to unlock opportunities for business to integrate children’s rights into their operations and communities. For more information, please visit:



For further information, please contact:

Linda Ravin Lodding
Head of Communications
Global Child Forum
+ 46 72 387 0248