Environmental Justice

The world is facing a triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem loss, and pollution. These crises undermine the enjoyment and protection of human rights and exacerbate environmental injustices, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable, marginalized and excluded people and communities. Today’s environmental crisis is intertwined with the crisis of inequality and is inextricably linked to the protection and fulfilment of human rights and sustainable development.

Tank, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan  Photo: SRSP

Tank, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan


To better respond to these challenges, UNDP has developed a global strategy for environmental justice that seeks to increase accountability and protection of ‘environmental rights’ for current and future generations; and promote the environmental rule of law. These objectives are pursued through a three-pronged approach:

  • building, enforcing and implementing enabling legal and policy frameworks;
  • supporting people-centred, effective institutions as key agents of enforcement and implementation of these frameworks; 
  • legal empowerment and access to justice on environmental matters.

Environmental justice requires a rights-based, multidisciplinary approach, that combines the collective expertise and perspectives of human rights, rule of law, justice and security, environment, and other development practitioners. Through our support to pilot initiatives, knowledge brokerage and policy influence, and strategic partnerships across UNDP and the broader UN family, the Justice Futures CoLab is committed to advancing the right to a healthy environment and tackling environmental injustices.

Latest publications

This technical paper informs the elaboration of UNDP’s strategy for advancing environmental justice through a three-pronged approach: establishing enabling legal frameworks, strengthening people-centred and effective institutions, increasing access to justice and legal empowerment in environmental matters.

The guidance note supports UNDP Country Offices in developing and implementing innovative initiatives on environmental justice. It provides resources and concrete examples of programming initiatives and good practices in line with UNDPs environmental justice strategy.

Focal point

Katy Thompson 
Head, UNDP Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights