Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth
In April 2010, Bolivia hosted the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund's Associate Director, Mari Margil, spoke at the Conference and was a part of the Working Group on the Rights of Mother Earth, helping to draft a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth. This builds on our work in the U.S., Ecuador, and elsewhere, working with people and governments to move forward laws recognizing the Rights of Nature.
Click here to download a PDF of the Declaration.
The Universal Declaration reads in part:
We, the peoples and nations of Earth:
considering that we are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny;
gratefully acknowledging that Mother Earth is the source of life, nourishment and learning and provides everything we need to live well;
…proclaim this Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and call on the General Assembly of the United Nation to adopt it, as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations of the world, and to the end that every individual and institution takes responsibility for promoting through teaching, education, and consciousness raising, respect for the rights recognized in this Declaration and ensure through prompt and progressive measures and mechanisms, national and international, their universal and effective recognition and observance among all peoples and States in the world.
The Universal Declaration is intended to be presented by Bolivia to the U.N. General Assembly for its consideration around Earth Day 2011. Bolivian President Evo Morales met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in early May to present the outcomes of the overall conference including the work on the Rights of Mother Earth.
We are hopeful that the Conference and the Universal Declaration
will help accelerate the work on Rights of Nature and begin a larger
conversation on the need for recognizing the rights of ecosystems and
natural communities in law.
In addition to the Working Group, Mari spoke on a panel focused on Rights of Nature which included Alberto Acosta (former president of the Ecuador Constitutional Assembly who CELDF met with during Ecuador’s constitutional drafting process), Miguel d’Escoto (former president of the U.N. General Assembly), Shannon Biggs of Global Exchange, and Cormac Cullinan (author of “Wild Law”).
The Conference was widely attended, including representation by indigenous communities from throughout Latin America and other parts of the world. Estimates are that 30,000 people participated in total.