Discussion Brief For ASEAN
‘The right to a healthy environment in Southeast Asia: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’, was prepared for RWI Asia and the Pacific Office by Victor Bernard"

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Climate change, biodiversity loss, and the destruction and degradation of ecosystems have significant impacts on people’s lives, affecting our ability to work, have leisure activities, and enjoy good health. Human rights and environmental protection are interdependent. A healthy environment enables people to fully enjoy their human rights. At the same time, the exercise of human rights helps promote environmental protection.


This discussion brief synthesises the findings and recommendations from RWI’s 2020 thematic study, ‘Prosperous and green in the Anthropocene: The human right to a healthy environment in Southeast Asia’, and provides recommendations for ASEAN Policymakers. This brief showcases how the ASEAN human rights and environmental law and policy frameworks reflect obligations regarding the right to a healthy environment. It further suggests entry points from collaborations among different ASEAN sectoral bodies and center in relation to various environmental themes. Examples of innovative practices and collaboration across the three ASEAN ‘pillars’ of cooperation are featured, together with recommendations of ways in which ASEAN can strengthen its role in advancing the right to a healthy environment at regional and national levels.


The brief aims to catalyse dialogue and thinking on how ASEAN policymakers can play a more prominent role in realising the right to a healthy environment in Southeast Asia. The current ecological crisis requires regional and national policymakers to ensure that solutions are just, and will benefit everyone – women as well as men, indigenous as well as non-indigenous people, and future generations as well as people now living.


Discussion Brief No. 5, titled: ‘The right to a healthy environment in Southeast Asia: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’, was prepared for RWI Asia and the Pacific Office by Victor Bernard. This document should be cited as follows:


Bernard, V, (2020) ‘The right to a healthy environment in Southeast Asia: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’, The right to a healthy environment discussion brief No. 5, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law


The overall conceptualisation, project terms, guidance, and editing were led by RWI consisting of Claudia Ituarte-Lima, Senior Researcher (RWI).