The right to a healthy environment in the EU, especially in the context of the war in Ukraine

Scope and objectives

On Thursday 9 February 2023, the Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (NAT) section of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is organising a hybrid public hearing to gather the view of international institutions, environmental law experts and European and Ukrainian civil society stakeholders on the EU's approach to protecting and enhancing a healthy environment for all.

As the conflict drags on and environmental damages of transboundary nature are piling up, adequate solutions are needed to identify, reduce and prevent environmental and social risks.

This public hearing aims to:

  • look into immediate EU responses to the environmental damages caused by the war in Ukraine, in collaboration with private actors and different civil society actors;
  • analyse key pieces of the EU legislation and other policy instruments to support the right to a healthy environment;
  • collect experts' view on the EU's approach regarding the protection and improvement of a healthy environment.

The debate will feed into to the preparation of the EESC own-initiative opinion on The right to a healthy environment, especially in the context of the Ukrainian war. It will seek to provide civil society recommendation on improving the protection of the EU citizens' right to a healthy environment.

This event will be webstreamed on our website and interpreted into EN, FR and ES. If you'd rather attend in person, or connect remotely to take an active part, please contact us to request a registration form.


The conflict in Ukraine is inflicting unprecedented challenges to the environment, adversely affecting human health and well-being. The environmental damage caused by the war includes ecosystem degradation, air and water pollution, and contamination of arable and pasture fields, directly threatening future agricultural production and exposing the fragility of global food security. The environmental and social dimension of the war in Ukraine is a stark reminder of the need to improve and secure the right to a healthy environment that permits the enjoyment of fundamental human rights in the EU and beyond.

Drawing on the outcomes of the EESC information report on Environmental protection as a prerequisite for the respect for fundamental rights, the EESC will further examine EU legislation and supporting policy papers and propose recommendations to advancing the EU's approach to ensure a healthy environment and thus improve citizen's fundamental rights.

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