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"Having long called for such a step, I am gratified that the Council's action today recognises environmental degradation and climate change as interconnected human rights crises."

"Bold action is now required to ensure this resolution on the right to a healthy environment serves as a springboard to push for transformative economic, social and environmental policies that will protect people and nature," she added.

At the beginning of the current session of the Human Rights Council, the high commissioner described the triple planetary threats of climate change, pollution and nature loss as the single greatest human rights challenge of our era.

The resolution on a healthy environment acknowledges the damage inflicted by climate change and environmental destruction on millions of people across the world.

It also underlines that the most vulnerable segments of the population are more acutely impacted.

The issue will now pass on to the UN General Assembly for further consideration.

Bachelet paid tribute to the efforts of a diverse array of civil society organisations, including youth groups, national human rights institutions, indigenous peoples' organisations, businesses and many others worldwide who have been advocating for full international recognition of this right.

She stressed the importance that the rights to participation, access to information and access to justice are also respected for the human right to a healthy environment to be fully realised.

Noting that an unprecedented number of environmental human rights defenders were reported killed last year, the high commissioner urged states to take firm measures to protect and empower them.

"We must build on this momentum to move beyond the false separation of environmental action and protection of human rights. It is all too clear that neither goal can be achieved without the other, and to that end, a balanced, human rights-based approach to sustainable development must be ensured," she said.

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