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A quality environment plays an important role in ensuring a life of dignity and well-being, in which the fundamental right to freedom, equality and good living conditions are respected. The Council of Europe calls on its 46 member states “to actively consider recognising, at the national level, the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, as a human right”.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has recently adopted a “Recommendation on human rights and the protection of the environment”.

Recalling the primary responsibility of the States for protecting the environment and human rights, the Council of Europe’s recommendation calls on national governments to ensure compliance with a number of general principles of international environmental law. Those principles include the no harm principle, the principle of prevention, the principle of precaution and the polluter pays principle; the need for intergenerational equity; the no discrimination principle; access without discrimination to information and justice in environmental matters.

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