On June 24, 2017, Laurent Fabius, President of the French Constitutional Supreme Court and former President of the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP 21), launched the "Global Pact for the Environment" project during a conference at the Sorbonne University in Paris. Attendants included former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former Irish President Mary Robinson, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. 

The project was initiated by lawmakers throughout the world and by the Environment Commission of the Club des Juristes, a French legal think tank. It was developed through a network of distinguished scholars, judges, and lawyers representing the diversity of legal traditions, and its goal is to reach an agreement on the core principles of environmental law to be included in a treaty serving as a reference for multilateral environmental agreements already in force. 

The Global Pact project is extensively built on existing principles, many of them enshrined in the Stockholm Declaration of 1972 and the Rio Declaration of 1992. However, the binding force of these principles is still undetermined, and the Global Pact initiators believe that environmental law would benefit from having its core principles entrenched in a treaty, which would make them enforceable in national courts. The principles promoted by the current draft of the Global Pact for the Environment are substantive rights and obligations that are part of most national legislations (e.g., polluter-pays principle, precautionary principle, prevention principle) and procedural rights (access to information, public participation in environmental decision-making, and access to environmental justice). In contrast to these widely recognized principles, some principles have been recently introduced into international law, such as the role of non-state actors or the nonregression principle, both of which were outlined in the Paris Agreement. 

The adoption of the Global Pact for the Environment would constitute the recognition of a "third generation" of human rights, to supplement the two international covenants of 1966 on civil and political rights, and on economic, social, and cultural rights. French President Emmanuel Macron committed to pushing the Pact through the UN General Assembly this September.