Historic ruling for forests, people and climate action in Colombia

Posted on April, 06 2018

In a historic ruling, Colombia's Supreme Court has recognized the Colombian Amazon as a subject with rights.
Yesterday, in a historic ruling, Colombia's Supreme Court recognized the Colombian Amazon as a subject with rights and ordered the government to develop urgent actions, within the next four months, to protect it and ensure its conservation and sustainable management, including strict measures to reduce deforestation. 

The decision is the result of a lawsuit brought forward by 25 children and young adults from different regions of the country, with support from Dejusticia, in January 2018 explaining how future generations will be the ones to face the worst effects of climate change and demanding that the government must halt deforestation completely and guarantee their involvement in the development of a plan to achieve this objective.

In addition to setting a legal precedent, the lawsuit and ruling demonstrate the important role people and institutions like courts can play in furthering action on climate change and biodiversity loss.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy programme, said: 
​"The Colombian Supreme Court's decision to recognize the Colombian Amazon as a subject with rights is a landmark step forward - for forests, climate action and people. For too long, we have taken from nature, continually and carelessly, and now the time has come to say enough! By protecting the rights of the Colombian Amazon to be free from deforestation, the court ruling not only protects the incredible biodiversity it contains and the communities that depend on it, but also safeguards one of our planet's best defences against climate change. This is a promising first - and 'right' - step toward creating a resilient, climate-safe future for people and nature.”

Mary Lou Higgins, Director, WWF-Colombia, stated:
“WWF has been working for more than a decade on identifying the main climate related risks for the Amazon biome, as well as designing and implementing “nature-based solutions” to tackle them. For this reason, WWF celebrates the historic decision taken by the Colombian Supreme Court of Justice which reflects the crucial role non-state actors can play in the battle against deforestation and climate change. We are certain this decision will be key for ensuring the effective protection of the Amazon and catalyzing Colombia´s fulfillment of the Paris Agreement, as long as it is accompanied with a solid strategy which ensures effective participation of state and non-state actors in its implementation, for which we commit our full support.”

Amazon River, Colombia.
© Camilo Diaz / WWF