February 16th, 2014
In 2010, CELDF helped found the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. CELDF has served on the Alliance’s Executive Committee and chairs its Legislative Assistance Working Group.
This January, the Alliance held a conference in Otavalo, Ecuador, with more than 60 participants from around the world discussing the growing interest in Rights of Nature. CELDF presented on its work in the U.S., Ecuador, and other countries assisting people, communities, grassroots groups, and governments to advance Rights of Nature legal frameworks. The conference concluded with the first Rights of Nature Tribunal, held in Quito. The Tribunal considered cases of ecosystem harm, and how Rights of Nature laws would protect against and restore such harms.
CELDF has worked with the communities in the U.S. to establish first-in-the-nation Rights of Nature laws, and in 2008, assisted Ecuador’s constitutional drafting process. The people of Ecuador ratified their new constitution in September 2008, becoming the first country in the world to establish Rights of Nature in its constitution. CELDF is now partnering with organizations in Australia, Nepal, India, and elsewhere to advance Rights of Nature law and policy.
Rights of Nature laws establish the rights of ecosystems to exist and thrive, and empower people and their governments to protect against violations of these rights. These laws are paradigm shifting – transforming away from existing environmental laws which regulate our use of nature, under which nature is considered “right-less” – to a new structure that recognizes the inalienable rights of ecosystems to life and well-being, such that protection of nature is paramount and any activities that may interfere with ecosystem rights are prohibited.