International Law

Bolivia and Ecuador have adopted constitutional provisions recognizing the Rights of Nature, and Bolivia has passed laws recognizing and seeking implementation of Nature’s rights. New Zealand recognizes the Rights of Nature through treaty agreements.

In 2010, the People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia. More than 35,000 people participated from around the world and supported the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth (UDRME). The UDRME was presented to the United Nations General Assembly in 2011, and a petition for its international adoption has been signed by more than 830,000 people from 122 countries. To sign the petition, visit:

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a global environmental network with more than 16,000 experts and 1,300 member organizations. The IUCN serves as a “trusted repository of best practices, conservation tools, and international guidelines and standards.” It convenes every four years to discuss the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.

At the 2012 World Conservation Congress, IUCN members recognized Nature’s rights by passing a resolution that makes the Rights of Nature a key part of the IUCN’s decision-making process. As a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law, ELC played a key role in getting the IUCN to prioritize its Rights of Nature. Because of ELC’s work, IUCN’s 2017-2020 program includes commitments to the Rights of Nature.

In addition, ELC led a workshop at the World Conservation Congress to help scientists, attorneys, government leaders and others understand the importance of recognizing the Rights of Nature in law.