State of Colima, Mexico Makes History by Granting Constitutional Rights of Nature
By: Earth Law Center
The initiative was presented by Congresswoman Blanca Livier Rodríguez Osorio, who is also President of the Commission for Environmental Protection. "This signifies a huge paradigm shift for Mexico's environmental protections,"
The constitutional amendment establishes that nature, including all ecosystems and species, is a collective entity with fundamental rights. Nature's rights include the right to exist, to restoration, to regeneration of its natural cycles, and to conservation of its ecological structure and functions.
The constitutional amendment also establishes that the protection, preservation, and recovery of biodiversity, natural ecosystems, genetic heritage, and native species is a joint responsibility of the public, private, and social sectors.
"To give an example, this means that for someone to make use of a forest, they will have to guarantee that they are in compliance with its restoration and regeneration of its natural cycles, as a matter of constitutional mandate," commented Congresswoman Livier Rodríguez Osorio.
Colima joins a select list of Mexican governments, such as Guerrero and Mexico City, that have legally recognized the Rights of Nature. Ecuador and Bolivia also recognize the Rights of Nature nationally. And a growing number of unique ecosystems are being recognized as subjects of rights. These include the Whanganui River in New Zealand per a treaty agreement and five rivers in Colombia after a series of landmark court decisions.
Congresswoman Livier Rodríguez Osorio hopes that Colima's bold step forward will inspire similar legal reform elsewhere, both inside and outside of Mexico. "It is crucial that humanity recognizes Nature's rights in order to address our environmental crisis," she said.
The State of Colima also publicly acknowledged the expert support provided by numerous organizations, including El Deber es Nuestro, Empoderamiento Climático, and U.S.-based Earth Law Center. These groups helped prepare, strengthen, and refine the proposal, according to a Colima spokesperson.
"We are extremely proud to have assisted Colima in passing this historic constitutional amendment," said Grant Wilson, Directing Attorney of Earth Law Center. "Governments are realizing that the survival of all species, including humans, depends on evolving our relationship with Nature, and Mexico can lead the way."
# # #
Earth Law Center (http://www.earthlawcenter.org) works to transform the law to recognize and protect nature's inherent rights to exist, thrive, and evolve. This includes advancing the inherent rights of rivers through initiatives with local partners to secure rights recognition.