null Joint Statement of Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, Ombudsman for Future Generations on World Environment Day

Dr. Ákos Kozma, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary and Dr. Gyula Bándi, Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, Ombudsman for Future Generations call for joint action in a statement on World Environment Day.

It was exactly fifty years ago that the first UN world conference on the environment entitled “Humans and the Biosphere” was held on 5 June 1972. In that very year, the UN General Assembly declared the start date of the consultation World Environment Day, as proposed by the participants of the conference. The goal is the same today as it was 50 years ago: to raise awareness of the consequences of environmental pressures, degradation, and pollution, and to promote collective reflection and action. Unfortunately, global trends are worrying, and the past 50 years did not result in the expected improvements.

A recent report by the World Meteorological Organisation (known as the WMO) shows that we are not on track to meet our climate protection targets. The report highlights four critical indicators of climate change: atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, sea-level rise, rising ocean temperatures, and ocean acidification. Each of these indicators reached record highs last year. The data are also in line with this year's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. The use of fossil fuels is proving to be an environmental and economic dead-end for our planet. According to the UN Secretary General, renewable energy sources are the only way to real energy security, stable energy prices, and sustainable employment opportunities. By joining forces and acting together globally, the transition to renewable energy can be "the peace project of the 21st century," the Secretary General emphasizes.

Recent data point out what we already know from WMO and IPCC: our present ultra-consumption way of life is not sustainable. If there is no change in our attitude, we will face increasing occurrence of natural disasters all around the world.

It is also worth paying attention to Earth Overshoot Day. It marks the virtual date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. This date is being set back year by year and it is incompatible with the need to follow the path of sustainability and leave for future generations at least - or close to - the conditions we have been given. The date is not only calculated by the researchers on a global level but also published for each country. In Hungary, we already reached that date on the 30th May 2022, a week earlier than last year and two weeks earlier than two years ago. It proves that our lifestyle is not moving towards sustainability.

We must keep in mind that it's never too late to change, it is possible to turn over a new leaf. Conscious consumption, the transition to a circular economy, and speeding up the switch to renewable energy sources are all part of the solution. Achieving them requires shared responsibility, creative thinking, and a will from all of us. On World Environment Day, the Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, Ombudsman for Future Generations stresses that effective solutions to global challenges can be found through collective action but all groups and individuals must play their part individually. The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary and the Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, Ombudsman for Future Generations call for policy and economic decisions on sustainability and climate change to be informed by scientific research and by the growing demand from society, particularly from the younger generation, that those responsible today should take into account the needs of future generations.