A sign-on letter of support presented to the court was signed by more than fifty Ecuadorian and international organisations, including Global Wildlife Conservation, CEDENMA, Amazon Watch, and Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine (CDHAL). [1] Article 71 of the Ecuadorian Constitution. It might now turn out to be the primary nation to guard giant swathes of biodiversity, primarily based upon this constitutional innovation. 42 WILLAMETTE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW JOURNAL FALL 2016 Ecuador’s Constitutional Rights of Nature U.S., and helped Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, draft and adopt the world’s first local rights of nature ordinance in 2006.6 In summary, the text of the Constitution: states up-front that societal harmony In addition to protecting biodiversity, the reserves also serve surrounding communities by providing sustainable jobs, which have gradually increased over time, and through ecosystem services such as abundant, clean water. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. Since that time, several cases have been brought to Ecuadorian courts, on behalf of nature. The Constitutional Court is the final hope for the Los Cedros Reserve to safeguard its future as a biological sanctuary. He spoke about the Rights of Nature constitutional […] The court also heard from Merlin Tuttle, the world. national and international academic institutions that have carried out scientific research” on Los Cedros to present their findings. “The State will motivate natural and juridical persons as well as collectives to protect nature; it will promote respect towards all the elements that form an ecosystem.”. Rather than treating nature as property under the law, Rights for Nature articles acknowledge that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles. Jonathon Porritt, one of many UK’s main environmentalists, mentioned: “Ecuador was the primary nation to incorporate the Rights of Nature in its structure. It could now become the first nation to protect large swathes of biodiversity, based upon this constitutional innovation. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Ecuador was the first nation to include the Rights of Nature in its constitution. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Mining companies tried to justify mining in Bosques Protectores by saying that the Rights of Nature did not apply to these Forests, as they were not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. Nature, or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution. Edgar Merlo who heads the legal team for Los Cedros, said: “The [Constitutional] Court’s ruling in this case would be a first in Ecuador: on the Rights of Nature, the right to prior consultation of communities, and the right to legal certainty, since concessions were granted without respecting the declaration of protective forests. CEDENMA spokesperson, Natalia Greene, told the court on Monday: "The Constitutional Court of Ecuador has an opportunity while the world is watching to employ the Rights of Nature as guaranteed in the Constitution, and make a decision that protects a highly threatened ecosystem from mining.”. However, these statements were countered by legal experts, who quoted Article 71 of the Constitution (1). Mining companies tried to justify mining in Bosques Protectores by saying that the Rights of Nature did not apply to these Forests, as they were not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. In the case of Ecuador, the seventh chapter of its new constitution is entitled “Rights of Nature.” This document establishes Pachamama as a legal entity for the first time in history, stipulating the right to an integral respect for nature’s existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structures, functions, evolutionary processes, and restoration. A positive ruling would not only protect Los Cedros’s forests from mining, but could provide a precedent to safeguard all 186 Protected Forests in Ecuador, totalling some 2.4 million hectares (6 million acres). David Dene tells the story of a growing international campaign to uphold and defend the 'Rights of Nature', in Ecuador and beyond. s forests from mining, but could provide a precedent to safeguard all 186 Protected Forests in Ecuador, totalling some 2.4 million hectares (6 million acres). It was in this spirit that Ecuador became the first country to enshrine the rights of nature — personified as Pachamama, the Andean earth goddess — in its constitution, in 2008. Dan Thomas, a biologist from Whitman College who has been working with economists from Notre Dame and Duke, testified that the existing carbon stocks at Los Cedros are estimated to be worth at least $210 million. Ecuador’s Constitution Successful Rights of Nature case: the Vilcabamba River Case, 2011 Further reading. © 2019 Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. It is impossible to understate how important the habitat that Los Cedros protects is, and the science shows that very clearly. Meanwhile mining company Cornerstone Capital Resources continues to explore within the Reserve, without the appropriate permits, despite overwhelming opposition in the region, and in direct contravention of Protective Measures granted by the Provincial Court of Imbabura in June 2019. Get access to nearly 50 years of journalism at the Ecologist Archive. To commemorate and celebrate the 10th anniversary of that historic event, an international symposium took place in Ecuador this past September 27th & 28th. One of these species is the critically endangered Brown-headed spider monkey. In 2008 the South American country made history when its new constitution declared that nature had “the right to integral respect for its existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes.” A separate scientists petition was signed by over 1200 scientists, including Jane Goodall, EO Wilson, Peter Raven, and Rosemary and Peter Grant.Â. ", There has already been significant international outrage at the threat to the reserve, with more than 19,000 signatories to a petition set up by the US Center of Biological Diversity in August. The final judgment by the Constitutional Court in this case could change the legal focus in Ecuador, South America, and the entire world on the Rights of Nature and the rights of local communities, so that mining concessions are not granted in Protected Forests.”. “Nature, or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution. judicial security”, potentially risking the State being sued by mining companies, as in 2014 when a US court ruled the government had to pay Chevron millions in compensation for violating a bilateral investment treaty. In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognize and implement Rights of Nature into its national constitution. Articles written to celebrate the recognition and deepen the understanding of these new rights granted in the Ecuadorian Constitution: La natureleza como sujeto de derechos símbolo o realidad jurídica, Ricardo Crespo, Los derechos de la naturaleza en la Constitución ecuatoriana, Mario Melo, El derecho de la naturaleza, Ramiro Avila, CODIFICACION DE LA DOCTRINA CONSTITUCIONAL DE LOS DERECHOS DE LA NATURALEZA, DPE, Hacia la Declaración Universal de los Derechos de la Naturaleza, Alberto Acosta, Buen Vivir y Naturaleza, Mario Melo (See English), Good Living and Nature by Mario Melo (English). Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognitions of rights for nature before the public organisms. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Los Cedros Reserve in north-western Ecuador is one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the world, with more than 4,800 hectares (nearly 12,000 acres) of primary cloud forest safeguarding the headwaters of four important watersheds. Article 6 of the Code states, “Nature's rights are those recognized in the Constitution which include the integral respect of their existence and the maintenance and regeneration of their life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes, as … Find out about our mission, and our team, here. This article tells the story of this extraordinary moment in constitutional history, presenting a detailed description of how these rights came about, why they appeared when and where they did, and what they mean to those concerned with this innovation. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Ecuador’s Constitution Gives Rights to Nature September 25, 2008 Cyril Mychalejko Ecuador 0 Jaguars, spectacled bears, brown-headed spider monkeys, and plate-billed mountain toucans may all just breathe a little easier next week if Ecuadorians approve a new constitution in a referendum on Sunday that would grant these threatened animals’ habitats with inalienable rights. Deep in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, a gigantic open pit copper and gold mine is planned in the heart of the Shuar peoples' territory. A positive ruling would not only protect Los Cedros. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. By using our website you agree to our. The Tribunal will be a permanent platform for hearing and judging cases from around the world. These cookies do not store any personal information. Rather than treating nature as property under the law, Rights for Nature articles acknowledge that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles. However, these statements were countered by legal experts, who quoted Article 71 of the Constitution (1), saying the Rights of Nature were universal rights, granted by the Constitution to all of Ecuador, and not just limited to National Parks (PANE). In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in history to guarantee rights to nature, in its new constitution. Court decision on Llurimagua – Rights of Nature Case – Ecuador. Los Cedros Reserve in north-western Ecuador is one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the world, with more The new Ecuadorian Constitution includes a Chapter: Rights for Nature. in north-western Ecuador is one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the world, with more than 4,800 hectares (nearly 12,000 acres) of primary cloud forest safeguarding the headwaters of four important watersheds. Social and environmental group OMASNE stated it was concerning that police were limiting the rights of citizens to protest, while allowing miners to pass unimpeded. Natalia Greene is the vice president of CEDENMA, a member of the executive committee for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and a member of Los Cedros. the last populations of the spider monkey in a critical state of conservation, and the Andean (spectacled) bear [which is] in danger of extinction” as reasons for hearing the case. And we – the people – have the legal authority to enforce these rights on behalf of ecosystems. Jonathon Porritt, one of the UK’s leading environmentalists, said: “Ecuador was the first nation to include the Rights of Nature in its constitution. The Ecologist is the world’s leading environmental affairs platform. The “rights of nature” constitutional provisions—found for the first time in a national legal framework—transforms nature from being an object of law, to being a subject of law. Facebook: Save Los Cedros Reserve or by using hashtags #JusticiaLosCedros #SaveLosCedros. It could now become the first nation to protect large swathes of biodiversity, based upon this constitutional innovation. In May, the, Constitutional Court of Ecuador specifically cited, the biodiversity at Los Cedros and the presence of. A positive ruling would also impact the ability of mining companies to operate in Ecuador. All Rights Reserved. over 200 species facing a high risk of extinction, , five of which are regarded as critically endangered by the Ecuadorian government.Â, It is impossible to understate how important the habitat that Los Cedros protects is, and the science shows that very clearly, said,  Professor Bitty A. Roy from the University of Oregon, "It houses incredible diversity that we haven, t even begun to fully understand, plays a vital role in the water cycle, is an important carbon capture, and so much more. “Law enforcement blocks the passage and tries to stop the legitimate right to protest, an abuse of free expression and above all evidence that the powers of the State benefit the interests of transnational companies,” OMASNE said in a FaceBook post. GARN is network of organizations and individuals committed to the universal adoption and implementation of legal systems that recognize, respect and enforce “Rights of Nature”. From CDER: “Our June 2020 webinar focused on Ecuador, with an excellent presentation by Attorney Hugo Echeverria, who is based in Quito and who works with CDER. The State will motivate natural and juridical persons as well as collectives to protect nature; it will promote respect towards all the elements that form an ecosystem.”. In May, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador specifically cited the biodiversity at Los Cedros and the presence of “the last populations of the spider monkey in a critical state of conservation, and the Andean (spectacled) bear [which is] in danger of extinction” as reasons for hearing the case. Other witnesses speaking on behalf of Los Cedros included ex-Minister of Mining and economist Alberto Acosta and Dr. Hugo Echeverría, a lawyer specializing in Rights of Nature and the Constitution. The Constitutional Court of Ecuador, the highest court in the land, has announced it will hear arguments in the case to preserve the threatened Los Cedros Protected Forest from mining development, and apply for the first time Ecuador’s constitutionally guaranteed Rights of Nature … Our legal case has been based on the argument that mining in Protected Forests is a violation of the legal status of declared Protected Areas, the Rights of Nature, and the right of communities to prior consultation, even before considering potential environmental damages,” says Jose DeCoux, manager and founder of Los Cedros reserve. The outcome will serve as a precedent for all future Rights of Nature cases, and could have implications for the future of mining throughout the country. Second, the Ecuadorian rights of nature contain elements that are not unique to the Ecuadorian experience, but rather shared by all rights of nature practice so far. BHP also has a concession that overlaps part of the Reserve. A positive ruling would not only protect Los Cedros, Facebook: Save Los Cedros Reserve or by using hashtags, Article 71 of the Ecuadorian Constitution. Overview. “Our legal case has been based on the argument that mining in Protected Forests is a violation of the legal status of declared Protected Areas, the Rights of Nature, and the right of communities to prior consultation, even before considering potential environmental damages,” says Jose DeCoux, manager and founder of Los Cedros reserve. Hacia la Declaración Universal de los Derechos de la Naturaleza. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. A Constitutional Injunction won at the Cotacachi Court on September 24 may give endemic species all over Ecuador protective rights from mining through the Rights of Nature clause. Scientists included Ecuador, s best-known herpetologist, Juan Manuel Guayasamí. rights, granted by the Constitution to all of Ecuador, and not just limited to National Parks (PANE). As of 2019, nature's rights laws exist in 12 countries, several U.S. Tribal Nations, and dozens of cities and counties across the United States. Short-term national gains from mining will not compensate for permanent biodiversity losses, and long-term ecosystem service and economic losses at the local and regional levels,” says Bitty Roy. In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognise the legal rights of nature in its constitution. When I saw the headline, I interpreted it a bit differently: that Ecuador had acknowledged that all of us, being created equal, had an equal right to the bounties of nature, and that thus, the right of all of Ecuador’s citizens to share in the economic value of Ecuador’s natural and community-created resources was being affirmed. The rapid expansion of mining in Ecuador since 2017 has seen a 300 percent increase in new concessions for mining exploration, totalling over 2.9 million hectares (6.17 million acres) of land. Rather, it is a rights-bearing entity. won at the Cotacachi Court on September 24 may give endemic species all over Ecuador protective rights from mining through the Rights of Nature clause. The court also heard from Merlin Tuttle, the world’s foremost bat biologist. Thus far, Ecuador has included some mention of the rights of nature within the country’s Organic Code of the Environment (CODA). Alberto Acosta, the president of Ecuador’s Constituent Assembly that was charged with leading the development of the new constitution, said in reflection of the inclusion of Buen Vivir that “only by imagining other worlds will this one be changed”. The Constitutional Court is the final hope for the Los Cedros Reserve to safeguard its future as a biological sanctuary. It could now become the first nation to protect large swathes of biodiversity, based upon this constitutional innovation. Canadian mining company Cornerstone Capital Resources was given a permit to explore for gold at Los Cedros Reserve in a joint-venture arrangement with the Ecuadorian state mining company, ENAMI. CHAPTER SEVEN Rights of nature Article 71. Thus far, Ecuador has included some mention of the rights of nature within the country’s Organic Code of the Environment (CODA). Communities believe the Ecuadorian government has acted illegally for selling these concessions without their knowledge or consent, and acting without respect for the national networks of Protected Forests and Indigenous Territories. This would set an invaluable precedent worldwide. “It is impossible to understate how important the habitat that Los Cedros protects is, and the science shows that very clearly, said Professor Bitty A. Roy from the University of Oregon’s Institute for Ecology and Evolution. “Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognitions of rights for nature before the public organisms. The ecosystem itself can be named as the defendant. Only 250 of these rare monkeys remain, around a quarter of which live at Los Cedros. The website is owned and published by The Resurgence Trust, an educational charity. n, Jose Cueva, the spokesperson for Los Cedros, and representatives from Birdlife International, Amazon Frontlines, and the Center for Biological Diversity made strong arguments about the value of Bosques Protectores and the impossibility of conducting any kind of exploration within them without risking the extinction of many species. The outcome of a case to protect the Los Cedros Reserve from mining will set a precedent for all future Rights of Nature cases in Ecuador. Short-term national gains from mining will not compensate for permanent biodiversity losses, and long-term ecosystem service and economic losses at the local and regional levels,” says Bitty Roy. This site use cookies to ensure you the best experience. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. The Court will consider the testimonies along with other submitted evidence until the 23rd October, after which the Court is expected to make a decision deciding the future of Los Cedros. The relevance of this rapid transition lies in the fact that two nations have dared to collectively dream of alternative worlds, and taken steps to put them in place. It's an amazing place, threatened by mining. The hearing focused on the application of the Rights of Nature for Bosques Protectores (legally Protected Forests), which have been guaranteed in Articles 71–74 of Ecuador’s Constitution. Our aim is to educate and inform as many people as possible about the wonders of nature, the crisis we face and the best solutions and methods in managing that crisis. The Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights’ released a video on the recent developments of Rights of Nature in Ecuador. The Court requested "national and international academic institutions that have carried out scientific research” on Los Cedros to present their findings. The Rights of Nature in Article 71-73 are quite important to understand the case of Los Cedros. It also protects incredible diversity, including over 200 species facing a high risk of extinction, five of which are regarded as critically endangered by the Ecuadorian government.Â. •September 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognize rights for nature in its constitution •The Yasuni ITT initiative is referring to the plan to not drill oil in Yasuni National Park and the biosphere kept from being violated. The Court will consider the testimonies along with other submitted evidence until the 23rd October, after which the Court is expected to make a decision deciding the future of Los Cedros. In New Zealand, several ecosystems now have legal rights, including … The total number of countries with either existing or pending rights of nature legal provisions was 28 as of 2019. TOWARDS AN EU CHARTER OF THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF NATURE!!! DEFEND NONHLE AND ALL DEFENDERS OF MOTHER EARTH! International community takes responsibility and pay 3.5 billion – FAIL This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Given the climate emergency, the need to keep reserves like Los Cedros intact takes on added urgency. Los Cedros Reserve in north-western Ecuador is one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the world, with more Rights of Nature in Ecuador | American People News All the latest breaking news on American People News. Chamber of Mining officials were concerned that any restriction to mining operations might affect Ecuador. Quito, Ecuador – Before an audience of 400 people, the world’s first Ethics Tribunal on the Rights of Nature and Mother Earth held its inaugural session on Friday, January 17th in Quito, Ecuador, the first country to recognize the Rights of Nature in its constitution. A separate scientists petition was, , including Jane Goodall, EO Wilson, Peter Raven, and Rosemary and Peter Grant.Â. 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