ENVIRONMENT DAY-ECUADOR :Nature's Rights Still Being Wronged
QUITO, Jun 3, 2011 (IPS) - Recognition of the rights of nature in Ecuador's 2008 constitution was widely applauded by environmentalists around the world. However, putting them into practice is still problematic due to the lack of legislation and an institutional framework.
It is true that in this country "enshrining the rights of nature has gone beyond philosophical discussion," and they have passed from being diffuse and vague to being objective and regulated, at least at the level of the constitution, said environmental lawyer René Bedón, dean of the law faculty at the Universidad de los Hemisferios.
"Furthermore, nature is beginning to file lawsuits," he told IPS, referring to the constitutional court sentence against the Provincial Council of Loja, a province on the border with Peru, 500 kilometres south of Quito.
On behalf of the rights of nature, and particularly of the Vilcabamba river, Richard Wheeler and Eleanor Geer Huddle, foreigners living in the area, asked for constitutional protection against damages caused by the widening of the Vilcabamba-Quinara highway, being carried out without an environmental permit.
The case, the first lawsuit in Ecuador's history on the rights of nature, was analysed at a seminar on "El derecho y las políticas ambientales más allá del papel" (Beyond the letter of the law and environmental policies), held Tuesday and Wednesday by the Ecuadorian Centre for Environmental Law (CEDA) to commemorate its 15th anniversary. MORE