The Rights of Nature to reach Buen Vivir

Organizing partners

Government of Ecuador

For a calendar of Rights of Nature/Mother Earth related events at the Earth Summit/Rio+20 visit Rio+20 Rights of Nature Calendar.


Ecuador Constitution

The Rights of Nature and Buen Vivir, or life at its fullest, are the main innovative proposals that Ecuador has made in its Constitution and that it is implementing through public policy. Ecuador has the first country in the world taht recognizes the rights of nature and is implementing within a plurinational and intercultural state guided by the concept of Buen Vivir, which means living in harmony with nature, with oneself and with others. Buen Vivir is presented as an alternative to the concept of development.

Detailed programme

The Rights of Nature: Ecuador’s Constitution is the first one in the world to recognize rights to Nature. The Constitution was approved in September 2008, with a large majority supporting the new proposals, including the rights of Nature. In 2012, the Forum of Latin America and Caribbean Ministers of Environment agreed in the Quito Declaration that there should be a discussion in the Rio Conference in relation to an International Declaration of the Rights of Nature. Therefore, this is one of the main issues that should be discussed at the Rio+20 Conference, as one of the most innovative and forward looking proposals and discussions.

The concept of Buen Vivir (life at its fullest), defined also in the Ecuador 2008 Constitution, is presented as an alternative to development, since economic growth and the current development model have shown limits and gaps to combat poverty and inequality, but rather we live now in a more complicated world that faces multiple crisis: economic, financial, environmental, climate, food and water, among others. With the Buen Vivir concept, which seeks that “people, communities, peoples and nationalities can effectively implement their rights, and exercises responsibilities, in the framework of interculturality, respect of diversity and living in harmony with nature”, the emphasis is not on economic growth, but on seeking a balance between human rights and the rights of nature, in a plurinational and intercultural state. The Buen Vivir is an alternative concept to development, which we consider is one of the main elements to be discussed in the evaluation of the sustainable development agenda, as well as the future proposals.

Both the Rights of Nature and Buen Vivir will contribute to the outcome of the UNCSD/Rio+20 Conference not only with a new perspective, but also with specific examples of how this process is being carried out.

The speakers include the following:

Minister María Fernanda Espinosa, Coordination Minister of Heritage
National Planning Secretary, SENPLAES, Fander Falconi
Alfredo Peña Vega (TBC) – International Institute for Research, Civilization Policy