NPWJ welcomes the UN Child Rights Committee ruling recognising that countries bear cross-border responsibility for harmful impact of climate change

13 Oct, 2021 | Press Releases

Brussels-Rome, 13 October 2021

No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) strongly welcomes the historical ruling adopted on 8 October by the UN Child Rights Committee, which holds that States can be accountable for the harmful effects of climate change and its carbon emissions on children’s rights both within and outside its territory.

In 2019, 16 children and young people from 12 countries filed a claim against five countries, denouncing that these five countries failed to take the necessary preventive measures to protect and fulfil children’s right to life, health and culture. They also underlined that children and future generations are the among the most affected by the life-threatening impacts of climate change, both mentally and physically.

In this historical ruling, despite the case itself being held inadmissible for procedural reasons, the Committee found that States are responsible for the negative impact of greenhouse gas emissions that originate in their territory on children’s rights. In this case, the Committee established a sufficient causal link between the harm against the 16 children and States’ acts or inactions of the five accused countries, supporting the young plaintiff’s claims.

This ruling also underlines that the children’s right to participate is essential for human life and dignity, especially in the light of the ongoing global environmental crisis that threatens the human rights of billions of children. Children have the right to express their opinion, initiate a climate litigation and ask for the respect of their rights, including the recently recognised right to a clean and healthy environment.

No Peace Without Justice hopes that this ruling by the Child Rights Committee will prompt a new approach to the fight against States’ impunity that includes the right to enjoy a safe, clean, and healthy environment of children and future generations. We also hope it will provide further impetus to States taking urgent and concrete action on climate change, to ensure the planet is safer right now and for future generations.

For further information, please contact Alison Smith, Director of International Justice, on or Nicola Giovannini, Press & Public Affairs Coordinator on