Call for Inputs: “Human Rights, Transformative Actions and the UN Sustainable Development Goals”
Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment
to prepare a report on the transformative actions required to achieve the SDGs as the world approaches the midpoint of Agenda 2030
In September 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit adopted an international framework to guide development efforts, entitled “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The Agenda is built around 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), divided into 169 targets. At the UN High-Level Political Forum in 2019, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, stated that “implementing the SDGs requires a human rights-based approach – locally, nationally, regionally and globally.” Similarly, the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has said, “Human rights are an intrinsic part of sustainable development – and sustainable development is a powerful vehicle for the realization of all human rights.”
Eight of the SDGs have direct connections to the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment:
SDG 2: Zero Hunger; SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation; SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy; SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities; SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production; SDG 13: Climate Action; SDG 14: Life Below Water; and SDG 15: Life on Land.
Unfortunately, the world is not on target to achieve most of the SDGs and was not on track even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Poverty is increasing, malnutrition is increasing and inequality is increasing. At the same time, greenhouse gas emissions continue to spiral upwards, while biodiversity spirals downwards. Pollution and toxic substances continue to cause more than nine million premature deaths annually while harming the health of billions of people.
As Secretary-General António Guterres concluded in his 2021 progress report on the SDGs, humanity needs “a decade of truly transformative action that delivers for people and planet.” (E/2021/58, para.7).
The Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David Boyd, is preparing a report on the transformative actions required to achieve the SDGs as the world approaches the midpoint of Agenda 2030. For that purpose, he is seeking inputs on the topic from States, rights holders, and other stakeholders through responses to the brief questionnaire below.
Your replies will inform the Special Rapporteur’s analysis and contribute to his report, which will be presented to the General Assembly in October 2022.
The Special Rapporteur invites and welcomes your answers to the following questions:
1. What transformative actions would be required, given the national context of your State, to achieve SDGs directly linked to environmental sustainability (SDGs 2, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)? Transformative actions can be understood as “bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world on to a
sustainable and resilient path”.1
2. What steps has your State taken to accelerate progress towards fulfilling the eight SDGs that have the most direct environmental linkages (SDGs 2, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)?
3. What specific actions is your State taking to fulfil the commitments to “leave no one behind” and to prioritize actions “to reach the furthest behind first” in terms of achieving SDGs 2, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15?
4. Are there any good practices that you would like to highlight?
5. How much budget has your State invested, since 2015, on actions to fulfil the eight SDGs that have the most direct environmental linkages (SDGs 2, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)?
6. What are the main barriers to progress towards achieving the relevant SDGs?
7. How can steps taken by your State to implement the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment (recognized in A/HRC/RES/48/13) serve as a catalyst for making more rapid progress towards SDGs 2, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15?
8. How could increasing gender equality contribute to more rapid progress towards SDGs 2, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15?
9. How can businesses contribute to transformative actions and accelerating progress to achieve SDGs 2, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, and 15?
Please send your responses to the questionnaire in Word format by email to
However, submissions will also be accepted via regular mail at the following address:
UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
We kindly request that your submission be concise and limited to a maximum of 5 pages (or 2,000 words), and welcome the inclusion of links to online documents.
Due to a limited capacity for translation, we also request that your inputs be submitted in English, French, or Spanish.
To avoid unnecessary duplication: if you have recently replied to other questionnaires from UN human rights mechanisms (or other international bodies, such as the High-Level Political Forum) with information that would be relevant to this request as well, we welcome your directing us to those replies.
All submissions will be made publicly available and posted on the Special Rapporteur’s homepage at the OHCHR website.