In 2021 the UN Human Rights Council passed a historic resolution declaring a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment (CHaSE) a human right. A campaign of youth leaders called #thetimeisright led the petition for this resolution. One environmental activist, Adriana Salazar, explains the resolution and how important it is.
In Bolivia, I have worked, since 2019, in the International Campaign "My planet, my rights" under a Latin American articulation that was born in Bogota, Colombia. During 2020, children and young people from different organisations and sectors articulated and organized a series of activities with the purpose of including in the social and political agenda the recognition of the human right to a healthy environment. We did this through theatre, artistic expressions in the streets, awareness-raising from person to person, debates and dialogues among young people themselves on the importance of having this recognition.
Hi, my name is Adriana Alejandra Salazar Larico. I am 22 years old, and I am an advocate for the rights of Mother Earth, indigenous peoples, women, and children. I am a young Aymara woman with Indigenous grandparents who migrated to the city of El Alto. A city formed and raised by migrants who came in search of opportunities when they could see that the food production in their home territories was no longer sustainable. Because of climate change, indigenous peoples are being displaced to cities where they face very different lives, discrimination, racism and lack of opportunities. Therefore, in the memory of the people affected, we declare that climate change is an economic, social, cultural, and highly political problem that deserves all our attention and effort to ensure dignified lives for the coming generations. Clearly, climate change does not affect us all equally. Indigenous peoples are more severely affected, along with youth and children in general.
We, as young people, have undertaken a series of actions to highlight the urgency of addressing the climate crisis our own space for organizing and advocacy undertaken from the streets and from our own organisation and advocacy spaces. On September 10th 2021, we, as a result of the work of children and young people from the five continents, raised the petition for the recognition of the human right to a healthy environment by delivering 1.000.000 signatures to the UN Special Rapporteur, David Boyd. Through these actions, we were able to attract national authorities and commit the Plurinational State of Bolivia to ratify the resolution recognising the human right to a healthy, clean and safe environment - having added more than 27.000 signatures to the campaign.
As a result of this campaign and other initiatives, the Youth Platform for Climate Justice was formed in Bolivia. An organization that has an administrative resolution of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, enabling an official space for youth participation in the Constitution and in decision-making on climate change. For the Bolivarian youth, the recognition of the human right to a healthy environment brings us closer to our postulate of Intergenerational Climate Justice. In our country, nearly two million children and young people live in places threatened by floods and more than 700.000 live in places with a high risk of droughts. These are conditions that have affected our rights to health, education, social protection, and mainly, the right to our future lives. This is a situation experienced by millions of children, adolescents, and young people around the world.
Our commitment to the planet and Mother Earth is expressed through a series of actions and initiatives that inspire us to continue trusting in the Intergenerational Alliance that demands States to assume their responsibility, implement structural solutions and share the mission of overcoming this climate crisis to live with dignity both today and tomorrow.