CELDF applauds those who have worked to enforce Ecuador’s constitutional rights for Nature, enshrined in 2008.

Mercersburg, PA: In a landmark ruling, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador has enforced the nation’s constitutional “Rights of Nature” provision to halt mining concessions issued in the Los Cedros Protected Forest ecosystem.

ENAMI EP, Ecuador’s national mining company, held the mining rights, which had been granted in two-thirds of the reserve. Thanks to the ruling, stemming from a lawsuit originally brought by the decentralized autonomous government of Cotacachi near Los Cedros, permits in the forest must be cancelled. 

“This is a wonderful example of how the Rights of Nature can be enforced as a way of combating the industrial siege against ecosystems and communities by investors who profit from untethered corporate encroachment,” said Ben Price of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. 

The companies argued their activities automatically respect the Rights of Nature by complying with existing government regulations. (In a press release, the company said that it had obtained all of the required permits, that it consulted with local communities and that no environmental damage had occurred.)

The lawsuit and court’s rejection of existing environmental regulations as insufficient to protect the Rights of Nature is groundbreaking. “We have to move beyond the current environmental law paradigm that is based on broken connections with nature and must ensure that Rights of Nature activism continues to push that existing law changes to meet the needs of nature and people,” said Tish O’Dell of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

The plaintiffs were able to introduce scientific studies that supported their claims that current government regulations would harm the forest ecosystem and sacred species.

CELDF salutes the organizations involved in this case, including the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.

CELDF played a small role in drafting Ecuador’s Rights of Nature language and has continued to advance lawmaking that pushes the needle on the Rights of Nature. Let’s keep the pressure on and ensure this global movement prevails and continues to accelerate.

The stakes could not be higher.


About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is helping build a decolonial movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature to advance democratic, economic, social, and environmental rights – building upward from the grassroots to the state, federal, and international levels.

Photo by Reiseuhu on Unsplash

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