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Thursday 23 September 2010

Patricia Covarrubia

How specific can be a Court? – the rights of nature

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It is reported by ProJusticia, an executive unit under the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, that the Ecuadorian Government plans to set up the first court of the rights of nature. To commemorate the position of this event, the Court will be created in the Galapagos Islands, declared by UNESCO as World Heritage.

The archipelago, with a population of about 20 thousand people, has four courts which address criminal and civil claims but “does not have a specialized court which protects the most valuable resource of the Galapagos, such as biodiversity”, Projusticia’s director said.

Miss Natasha Reyes, Projusticia’s director, continues to explain that “The project's goal is that justice is administered in favour of nature". The analysis will be solely on the protection of the rights of nature, with capacity to punish offenders, she explained.

Illegal fishing, environmental damage, species violations and excesses of tourism, among others, could be processed in the new courthouse, said Reyes, for whom the new processing code should punish indiscriminately Ecuadorians and foreigners who commit crimes against nature.

Therefore, Projusticia has endeavoured to develop a management model for the court, and a code with all legal characterizations relating to the care of nature. The creation of this court is in the hands of the Judicial Council, which has also expressed interest in supporting the project, said Reyes.

The initiative is also driven by environmental organizations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Sea Shepard and Conservancy International, in addition to the Galapagos National Park (GNP), to protect the rich biodiversity of the archipelago.

Protecting Biodiversity has become a worldwide topic and I indeed applause this project. One of the reasons that the so-called Free Trade Agreements (FTA) between the US with Latin American (LA) countries and also the EU with LA have been delayed is because the IP table of negotiations. Specifically, it is known that LA countries do have a low level of innovation but are rich in biodiversity and the negotiations in this matter are hot points – there is indeed always questioning of big players taking advantage. The point been that, the Ecuadorian Government has in his hands a good project but which needs to be drawn with care. I hope that the Government sees this not as a political agenda but as a matter of benefit to the whole community at large (worldwide). I also look forward to seeing other countries following this example.

Sources here and here.

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia