Rights of Nature: The Ecuadorian Case

The recognition of rights to nature by the Constitution of Ecuador sets a new normative scenario for analysis of the role of law in human-nature interactions. Given the scope of such a recognition, one relying on unorthodox biocentric views, these rights raise controversy. To some, nature rights are rather symbolic; to others, these rights are not only real but fundamental to effectively address the ever-growing degradation of nature. Yet, others focus on enforcement and juridical interpretation of their normative content as to determine whether recognition of constitutional rights to nature provide the foundations for a more effective role of the law in this field.

In 2008, Ecuador became the first State to recognize constitutional rights to nature. This recognition, which acknowledges the intrinsic value of nature, goes beyond the approach of protecting the environment, as it aims at respecting nature. What effects would this recognition bring to Ecuador and, perhaps, comparative constitutional environmental law? Would this recognition be symbolic or would it be of real significance? This article will address these issues. It will present the background as well as the normative dimension of nature rights on the Ecuadorian Constitution. The article will also examine doctrinarian perspectives while focusing on constitutional jurisprudence, to conclude that the Ecuadorian experience has provided a new scenario for analysis of the human-nature interactions from a biocentric perspective that coexists with a dominating anthropocentric perspective.

Bron: Echeverría., H. 2017. Rights of Nature: The Ecuadorian Case. Revista Esmat, 9(13), p. 77-86. DOI: 10.34060/reesmat.v9i13.192


Image credits

Icon image: Alamo - Ecuador