Indoor Air Pollution - a Human Rights Concern
Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) affects mostly vulnerable groups: rural and urban poor, women and young children. Human rights offer a means to highlight the discriminatory nature of IAP and add a sense of urgency to the policy-making process. Nepal's Interim Constitution provides the right of everyone to live in a clean environment. Nepal has also ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which provides the right to health, the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to adequate housing.
The workshop participants agreed on the Kathmandu Declaration on Clean Indoor Air: The Right to a Healthy Life. According to the Declaration, IAP should be recognized as one of Nepal's priority health concerns in national health, environment and energy policies and plans. The rights-based approach should be implemented consistently in the reduction of IAP, ensuring the participation of women and children and the disadvantaged and socially excluded groups, in the planning of energy policies and programmes. Legislation on the rights and duties relating to IAP should be drafted to ensure necessary government action and momentum. The Alternative Energy Promotion Centre and its associated programmes in biogas and microhydro electricity are aimed at rural energy provision, but also help reduce IAP. These and similar government programmes should expand their outreach and further benefit vulnerable groups through access to micro-credit and the provision of additional subsidies for the poorest of the poor.