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. Further efforts towards the effective implementation of Rights of Nature in Ecuador: Rights of Nature Draft Secondary Legislation, Ecuador, Borrador de Propuesta de ley de derechos de la naturaleza, Ecuador, Demanda por los derechos del mar contra BP. “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. The Los Cedros case is not the only case currently being heard on the Rights of Nature. 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). 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. Find out about our mission, and our team, here. Since that time, several cases have been brought to Ecuadorian courts, on behalf of nature. Los Cedros Reserve in north-western Ecuador is one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the world, with more Recognising rights of nature, they argue, will transform core values and inspire social changes that promote economic development which respects nature’s limits. 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. 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. Scientists included Ecuador, s best-known herpetologist, Juan Manuel Guayasamí. Should nature have rights? These cookies do not store any personal information. BHP also has a concession that overlaps part of the Reserve. The latest edition of Resurgence & Ecologist is out now, and available to buy from the Resurgence Trust website. Beyond the extraordinary biodiversity of these forests, they are vital to sequester carbon and water. 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. David Dene tells the story of a growing international campaign to uphold and defend the ‘Rights of Nature’, in Ecuador and beyond. 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.”. Overview. “Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognitions of rights for nature before the public organisms. Find out more about the mining threat in Ecuador and the Rainforest Action Group's work. There’s so little intact primary forest left. 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. “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. Read and learn about the political advocacy process towards this recognition: Recogniting Rights for Nature in the Ecuadorian Constitution, Fundacion Pachamama, Reconocimiento de los Derechos de la Naturaleza Ecuador, Fundacion Pachamama. Jonathon Porritt, one of the UK’s leading environmentalists, said: “Ecuador was the first nation to include the Rights of Nature in its constitution. Rebekah Hayden campaigns with the Rainforest Action Group (Melbourne), a grassroots working group committed to securing the earth's ecological future and a sustainable and equitable society in Australia, Ecuador and beyond. Hacia la Declaración Universal de los Derechos de la Naturaleza. The Constitutional Court has chosen these cases to test how the Rights of Nature in the Constitution should be applied on a judiciary level. The new Ecuadorian Constitution includes a Chapter: Rights for Nature. 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. Ecuador’s Rights of Nature constitutional provisions – found in Chapter 7 – state: “Nature, or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and occurs, has the right to integral respect for its existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes. The application and interpretation of these rights will follow the related principles established in the Constitution. This, as I will explain, is not incidental; there are deep reasons for why the rights of nature share a similar advocacy account across several implementation strategies. 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. Ecuador is the first country to recognize Rights of Nature in its Constitution. The total number of countries with either existing or pending rights of nature legal provisions was 28 as of 2019. 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. 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. Ecuador was the first nation to include the Rights of Nature in its constitution. In May, the, Constitutional Court of Ecuador specifically cited, the biodiversity at Los Cedros and the presence of. 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. 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 Get access to nearly 50 years of journalism at the Ecologist Archive. A positive ruling would not only protect Los Cedros, Facebook: Save Los Cedros Reserve or by using hashtags, Article 71 of the Ecuadorian Constitution. 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. A positive ruling would not only protect Los Cedros. 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. The website is owned and published by The Resurgence Trust, an educational charity. Los Cedros is a Key Biodiversity Area, which makes it critical to the global persistence of biodiversity and the health of the planet. There, s so little intact primary forest left. A separate scientists petition was, , including Jane Goodall, EO Wilson, Peter Raven, and Rosemary and Peter Grant.Â. 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.”. 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. That question is being put to the test right now in Ecuador. DEFEND NONHLE AND ALL DEFENDERS OF MOTHER EARTH! Jonathon Porritt, one of the UK’s leading environmentalists, said: “Ecuador was the first nation to include the Rights of Nature in its constitution. TOWARDS AN EU CHARTER OF THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF NATURE!!! This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. The Tribunal will be a permanent platform for hearing and judging cases from around the world. The Constitutional Court is the final hope for the Los Cedros Reserve to safeguard its future as a biological sanctuary. Those speaking in favour of mining in Protected Forests included Fernando L. Benalcázar, the Vice-Minister of Mining; Pablo Mendez, the legal representative of Canadian mining company Cornerstone Capital Resources; and Oscar Vela for Australian SolGold subsidiaries Vallerico Resources and Green Rock Resources. "By reading these articles, you can understand that, if nature has rights — especially nature with such a big biodiversity, with so many species that are unique and that are on the verge of extinction — then Article 71 and 73 need to be applied in Los Cedros since it is facing such a big threat.”, Elisa Levy, research coordinator of the Los Cedros scientific station, added: “Evidence was presented to the court about the high degree of biodiversity within Bosques Protectores, and the damaging impact of even rudimentary exploratory mining operations on rivers, biodiversity, and endemic species,” says. “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. Given the climate emergency, the need to keep reserves like Los Cedros intact takes on added urgency. Deep in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, a gigantic open pit copper and gold mine is planned in the heart of the Shuar peoples' territory. Despite the court case being streamed over Zoom due to the pandemic, crowds of supporters  remained outside the Constitutional Court in Quito for the entire proceedings, playing music and dancing while chanting “Justicia Los Cedros” (Justice for Los Cedros) and “Bosques Sin Minería” (Mining out of forests). Esperanza Martínez of Acción Protección, 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. 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. 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. 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. To commemorate and celebrate the 10th anniversary of that historic event, an international symposium took place in Ecuador this past September 27th & 28th. 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–. To receive the magazine, become a member now. The views expressed in the articles published on this site may not necessarily reflect those of the trust, its trustees or its staff. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. The Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights’ released a video on the recent developments of Rights of Nature in Ecuador. Celebran el primer caso exitoso de exigibilidad de los Derechos de la…, La Alianza Global para los Derechos de la Naturaleza lanza dos libros en…, Natalia Greene on Politics of Rights of Nature in Ecuador. In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognise the legal rights of nature in its constitution. ", 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. 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. Sign up for our WEEKLY and MONTHLY newsletters - and never miss out on the amazing news and comment articles we publish, day in day out. The ancient values that are en… 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. The court also heard from Merlin Tuttle, the world. And we – the people –  have the legal authority to enforce these rights on behalf of ecosystems. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Ecuador rewrote its Constitution in 2007-2008 and it was ratified by referendum by the people of Ecuador in September 2008. 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. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Articles that positively influenced the Constitutional debate: La naturaleza no es muda, Eduardo Galeano, If Nature Had Rights, Cormac Cullinan  also listen to the audio If Nature Had Rights read by Cormac Cullinan, The Implementation of Rights for Nature, Thomas Linzey 08, Cormac Cullinan, Memo constitutional nature rights in Ecuador. This would set an invaluable precedent worldwide. Jonathon Porritt, one of many UK’s main environmentalists, mentioned: “Ecuador was the primary nation to incorporate the Rights of Nature in its structure. Learn about this amazing recognition, its experience and share it with the world! Chamber of Mining officials were concerned that any restriction to mining operations might affect Ecuador. 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. “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. Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognitions of rights for nature before the public organisms. Thus far, Ecuador has included some mention of the rights of nature within the country’s Organic Code of the Environment (CODA). “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. He spoke about the Rights of Nature constitutional […] The Rights of Nature in Article 71-73 are quite important to understand the case of Los Cedros. Ecuador’s Constitution Successful Rights of Nature case: the Vilcabamba River Case, 2011 Further reading. In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognize and implement Rights of Nature into its national constitution. Scientists included Ecuador’s best-known herpetologist, Juan Manuel Guayasamín, fresh-water ecologist Blanca Ríos-Tourma, and many international scientists, including Mika Peck, Bitty Roy, and Roo Vandegrift. However, other supporters were prevented from attending, with at least one bus detained at Cotacachi by the Ecuadorian National Police. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. 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. It could now become the first nation to protect large swathes of biodiversity, based upon this constitutional innovation. The Court requested "national and international academic institutions that have carried out scientific research” on Los Cedros to present their findings. 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