The environmental rule of law and enabling the role of Environmental Human Rights Defenders (EHRDs) can provide the necessary foundations for environmental protection, enforcement, create resilience to environmental crises, and help reduce environmental crime. At this time, Environmental Human Rights Defenders can also play an important part in sustainable recovery from COVID. The occurrence of COVID-19 highlights the vital importance of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. Environmental degradation and biodiversity loss create the conditions for an increase in the type of animal-to-human zoonosis that can result in viral epidemics. This side event will discuss both the roles and challenges of Environmental Human Rights Defenders in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in relation to SDGs 13 (climate action) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), but also more broadly.