Over the last years, the EU has stepped up its efforts to reinforce economic, social and cultural rights and strengthen the link between human rights and the environment in its external action.

The EU supports activities to raise awareness of the negative impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on human rights: to health, food security, safe drinking water and sanitation, adequate housing, education, culture, work and development and even life itself. Everyone’s ability to enjoy these human rights depends on healthy ecosystems.

Today 2.2 billion persons who have no access to safe water services. With the goal to support universal access to water and sanitation, the EU adopted the EU Guidelines on Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation. The EU moreover promotes a human-centred future of work in which the right to safe and healthy working conditions are secured and that is free of violence and harassment.

The EU is the largest contributor to UNESCO and works closely with UNICEF to ensure the right to education, for example through the Generation Unlimited project. Only through free, inclusive and quality education for every child will we be able to eradicate poverty, inequality and resolve climate change challenges.