Child Participation and the Right to a Sustainable Environment (GCHumanRights)

Child Participation and the Right to a Sustainable Environment (GCHumanRights)
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Child Participation and the Right to a Sustainable Environment (GCHumanRights)
Youth environmental movements, actively raising their voices around the world, send a clear message: the young generations are not only environmentally-conscious, but also determined to defend their rights and preserve the only planet we have. Their call expresses the need to recognise the many links between a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and children’s rights to be heard and participate.This MOOC asks children’s rights experts, environment specialists, human rights scholars and young climate activists to examine concepts, standards and practices of rights-based participation of children in environmental matters.

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Existing and developing principles and standards, together with recent advances such as UN resolutions, reports and summits or civil society campaigns and calls for legal accountability and redress seem to be a step in the ‘right’ direction and provide an empowering context for initiatives organised by children to defend their environmental rights. However, questions still remain: how many children proactively make use of human rights standards in their action against environmental damage? How can we build on the movement initiated by young climate activists to recognise children as direct agents of change? How can climate action be organised, sustained and deployed in a way that upholds children’s rights and the effective participation of children?




This MOOC asks children’s rights experts, environment specialists, human rights scholars and young climate activists to examine concepts, standards and practices of rights-based participation of children in environmental matters. Through free and open access to current knowledge and debates, the course speaks to a worldwide audience - and young people specifically - to inform those who are seeking human rights guidance, encourage those who are curious to know more, support those who are already acting, and ultimately boost effective change.

This course is for participants around the world, including children and young people, who are actively interested and engaged in children’s rights work and wish to deepen their knowledge about the theory and practice of child participation in environmental matters and related developments, key debates and possibilities for transformation.


Course Outline


The course runs over 6 weeks and is organised in 3 modules:

Module 1 is an introduction to children’s rights and the environment, with a focus on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its articles related to both child participation and the environment.

Module 2 is dedicated to the right to a healthy and sustainable environment for children, with attention to the link between human rights, the environment and natural resources as well as environmental sustainability and holistic education.

Module 3 deals with child participation and action in environmental matters and looks at the role of children as agents of change and as rights-holders in climate litigation.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course participants will have gained:

- Knowledge about key international standards, documents, initiatives and recommendations on children’s rights in relation to the environment

- Understanding of progress and obstacles in the implementation of such standards

- Ability to identify multi-faceted aspects of current debates on child participation and climate action

- Capacity to discuss specific issues and cases of concern from a theoretical and practical perspective

- Awareness of multiple avenues for children and young people to act, demand accountability and redress, and support rights-based changes in the fight against environmental harm



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