PUTRAJAYA: Access to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is a human right that needs to be protected and promoted, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said.

He said Malaysia upheld that position when it co-sponsored a resolution at the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) on 8 Oct in Geneva.

The Resolution was a first for the Council, in establishing a clear and direct linkage between a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment with human rights, he said.

Malaysia also co-sponsored a related HRC resolution that establishes the position of a Special Rapporteur to promote and protect human rights globally in the context of climate change.

"Malaysia welcomed the HRC Resolution that highlight the human rights implications of environmental damage and climate change faced by individuals and communities around the world, especially on vulnerable groups, including the indigenous peoples, older persons, persons with disabilities, and women," he said in a statement here, Tuesday.

He said by supporting the Resolution, Malaysia acknowledged that environmental degradation, climate change and unsustainable development constitute some of the most pressing and serious threats to the ability of present and future generations to enjoy human rights, including the right to life, the rights to health, development, housing, water and food.

"As called by the Resolution, Malaysia aims to play its part in implementing this newly recognised right, including by building capacities as part of the efforts to protect the environment and adopt appropriate policies to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystems, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," he said.

He added that towards this end, Malaysia pledged to work closely with other countries, international and regional organisations, civil society, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), the academia, and the corporate sector, in securing a better future for the next generation.

The foreign minister said Malaysia's priority in addressing climate change is part of the country's pledges for its candidacy to the UN Human Rights Council for the term 2022-2024, at elections to be held in New York on Thursday (14 Oct 2021).

It is also in line with the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025), as recently unveiled by YAB Prime Minister towards a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable growth for all. The 12th Malaysia Plan aspires to advance green growth by implementing clean, green and resilient development agenda through a whole-of-nation approach, he added.