UN Human Rights Council 43rd Session – Item 3: ID with the SR on the situation of human rights and environment – Intervention by ESTONIA, 2 March 2020

Madame President,

Estonia aligns itself with the statement by the European Union.

We would first like to express our appreciation for the work of the Special Rapporteur and thank Mr. Boyd for his latest report. As the report gives a good overview of what is being done around the world, allow me to add some elements also from Estonia.

Estonia is a country of very rich biodiversity, species-rich grasslands, forests and well-preserved wetlands. We need to act now to preserve all that. Large-scale restoration activities of the degraded grasslands and wetlands have significantly contributed to that target during the last decades in Estonia. Everyman’s rights (freedom to roam) ensure free access to nature, support nature education, tourism and recreation as well as picking berries and mushroom as part of traditional life-style. Visiting the conservation areas is free of charge for everybody. Everyman’s access to natural waterbodies is ensured by law.

We have set ambitious goals to reduce, by 2030, our GHG emissions by 70%, compared to 1990. This means that 42% of our cross final energy consumption should come from renewable sources.

State action alone is not enough, we all need to contribute. In Estonia, the local communities are developing a Green Municipality Model to reshape their activities to be sustainable. Also, Estonia’s technology companies have signed a Tech Green Pledge with the ambition to be carbon neutral in their action by 2030. With its e-governance Estonia has a wide-based information system accessible to everyone to learn about the state of the environment.

Finally, as the report clearly shows, there are many international and regional instruments regulating the right to healthy environment. Estonia reiterates the importance of their implementation. Mr. Boyd, what in your view could be the fastest key to trigger that?

Thank you!