Historic Ruling on Deforestation: the Colombian Amazon Has Rights
Catalina Vallejo Centre on Law and Social Transformation Esmeralda Colombo UiB Siri Gloppen CMI/UiB
Catalina Vallejo (Colombian Lawyer, PhD) and Esmeralda Colombo (PhD Candidate UiB) in conversation with Siri Gloppen (CMI/UiB).
The Colombian Supreme Court of Justice recently ordered the protection of the Colombian Amazon from deforestation, ruling in favor of a group of 25 children and youth, who sued the Colombian government for failing to protect their rights to life, a healthy environment, health, food, and water. In order to protect this ecosystem, the Supreme Court not only recognized the threat against the plaintiff’s rights but also declared the Colombian Amazon as an entity subject of rights. This means that the State has a duty to protect, conserve, maintain, and restore the forest.
The ruling goes in the direction that other courts have been taking worldwide, ordering governments to fulfil their international commitments to address climate change. The ruling reaffirms the worldwide judicial acceptance of climate science and creates an important precedent on the rights of nature and future generations in the context of climate change.
While other climate rulings have mostly focused on the declaratory aspect of rights, this case also includes a set of remedies in the form of concrete obligations that the government should satisfy in a given period. This type of ruling might have better chances of improving implementation of judicial decisions and avoid the well-known gap between “rights on paper” and “real rights”.
At the CMI-UiB Centre on Law & Social Transformation, we are proud to be able to present a uniquely qualified panel:
Catalina Vallejo (Colombian Lawyer, who just completed her PhD in "Climate Change Jurisprudence") and Esmeralda Colombo (PhD Candidate at UiB, who is writing on "Access to National Courts and Effective Remedies in Climate Change Cases") will discuss the content of this historic ruling and its implications for the growing case law on climate change in conversation with Siri Gloppen (LawTransform Director and professor at UiB)
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Photo: Matt Zimmerman (CC/flickr)