Yasuni National Park, Ecuador, Geoff Gallice

Yasuni National Park, Ecuador, Geoff Gallice

Ecuador was the first country to adopt Rights of Nature into its constitution. The 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution, endows “Nature or Pachamama” with inalienable rights to "exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution," and it empowers individuals to legally defend these rights on behalf of the environment. Additionally, “Nature has the right to restoration” and the State shall “apply precaution and restriction measures in all the activities that can lead to the extinction of species, the destruction of the ecosystems or the permanent alteration of the natural cycles.”

This has led to a successful court case challenging the government of Loja for widening the Vilcabamba-Quinara road, which was found to violate the rights of nature and in particular the rights of the Vilcabamba River.

However, Ecuador has much to do in the way of implementation. Recently, they sold oil rights to a Chinese-owned oil company in a “remote corner of the Amazon rainforest.” This most certainly violates Article 71 and 73 and we will continue to provide updates.

Further Reading:

1) Rights of Nature Articles in the Ecuadorian Constitution

2) Rights of Nature case in Ecuador

3) Ecuador sells oil rights in the Amazon