The Covid-19 outbreak in 2020 took the world by surprise. The virus spread quickly around the globe and death tolls were constantly on the rise at early stages of the pandemic. Although vaccine rollouts have helped halt the number of deaths, inequality in accessing vaccines and effective treatments is still a major issue. From the onset, Covid-19 negatively impacted global well-being and myriad human rights. The present report examines how environmental protection and related human rights have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Based on link between environmental and human health, this report focuses on ecological human rights. The report aims to assess the negative effects of Covid-19 on the enjoyment and realization of particular rights, including the right to a healthy environment, the right to food, the right to water, the right to life and the right to health. It discusses how the pandemic interplays with the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. The report also highlights how the pandemic in and of itself, as well as governmental response measures to it, have played a role in exacerbating pre-existing social and economic inequalities. The report places a special focus on the impact of response measures on marginalized groups, namely Indigenous communities, Afro-descendant communities and environmental defenders. The world is now facing the challenge of building back better. With this in mind, the report provides specific recommendations on how to move forward in a way that ensures human and environmental health are protected. These recommendations are mainly directed at international organizations and States in their decision-making processes. As they continue to face the devastating effects of the pandemic, States and international organizations need to guarantee that inequalities are not furthered and that the rights of marginalized groups are particularly protected.
Maria Antonia Tigre, Natalia Urzola, & Sarah C. Slinger, et al., Environmental Protection and Human Rights in the Pandemic, 1 Legal Pol’y & Pandemics 317, 374 (2021).