We were delighted to have the opportunity to discuss Earth Jurisprudence at the United Nations, presenting at the 7th UN Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature, Friday 21st April, 2017.
Orchestrated by Maria Mercedes Sanchez, the UN’s dynamic focal point for Harmony with Nature, the dialogue was streamed live and can be viewed online. We especially recommend the compelling interventions by Sr. Fernando Huanacuni, Bolivia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The 7th Interactive Dialogue of the UN General Assembly on Harmony with Nature, held in celebration of Mother Earth Day, had ‘Earth Jurisprudence’ as its overall theme. Liz Hosken, Gaia’s Director, was an invited panellist, alongside Ministers from Bolivia and Ecuador. Liz spoke about Gaia’s journey in promoting Earth Jurisprudence and our ‘trainings for transformation’ with communities, civil society and change-makers across Africa – a contribution to strengthening the global movement for transformation from an anthropocentric to an Earth-centred paradigm.
Other panellists included Linda Sheehan and Klaus Bosselman, drawing on last year’s report to the General Assembly on Earth Jurisprudence (A/71/266), which concludes that human rights “are meaningless if the ecosystems that sustain us do not have the legal right to exist”. The dialogue also explored recent Rights of Nature legislation in Mexico, presented by Germana Oliveria de Moraes, and New Zealand. Gaia enabled Pallav Dav, co-founder of Kalpavriksh, to address recent legislation in India on the rights of the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers. Jorge Islas, a lawyer from Mexico, moderated the dialogue, with inputs from governments, UN agency representatives and civil society.
The event was broadcast live and can be viewed on the UN Web TV website at: http://webtv.un.org
This was also an exciting month in Europe with two events on the Rights of Nature. The Earth Rights Conference in Sweden, brought together a range of activists, academics and environmentalists and produced a declaration which not only drew on European sources, but also brought in the UN’s Harmony with Nature initiative. Another event, held by Nature’s Rights at the European Parliament in Brussels, drew together parliamentarians, academics and featured a talk from IUCN’s Luc Bas – in support of the initiative to get an EU Directive on Rights of Nature.
Media interest has been raised these last few weeks over three precedents in Rights of Nature, with the intrinsic rights of rivers in New Zealand, India and Colombia being recognised. We provide some links below.
The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN) is planning a Tribunal to coincide with the next round of climate change negotiations, at the UNFCCC in Bonn, in November 2017. European allies who are in a position to help with the logistics for the event are asked to please contact GARN.
Last but not least, Gaia is running a new three-year, in-depth training course in Africa on Earth Jurisprudence. July will see the graduation of African’s first group of EJ practitioners, at a special ceremony in Kenya. At the same time, we will welcome a second group of African EJ practitioners to embark on their 3-year journey of transformation.
- The Harmony with Nature Initiative: What it Might Achieve
- The Tyranny of Rights, Brewster Keen (section on Rights of Nature from 106)
- Ganga, Yumana and Whanganui rivers rights acknowledged in India and New Zealand
New Zealand – Whanganui River
- Te Awa Tupua Act
- Be Warned, rivers and trees can sue
- What it means to give the Whanganui River the same rights as a person
- (The Economist) New Zealand declares River a Person
- (New Zealand Law Society) Whanganui River settlement passed
- (EcoWatch) World’s First River Given Legal Status as a Person
India – Ganga and Yamuna Rivers
- Writ Petition no.126 of 2014, High Court of Uttarakhand
- (The Hindu) Can the Ganga have human rights?
- (The Conversation) Three Rivers are now Legally People – But that’s just the start of looking after them.
- (Live Law) Uttarakhand HC Declares Ganga, Yamuna Rivers and Living Legal Entities
- (India Law) Ganges and Yamuna rivers granted same legal rights as human beings
Colombia – Atrato River
- (El Espectador) Un salvavidas para el Atrato
- (Earth Law Center) The Importance of the Atrato River in Colombia gaining Legal Rights
- (ABColombia) Colombian Constitutional sets a Global Precedent