An aerial view of Aruba’s Palm Beach. Photo Credit: VWPICS/Jimmy Villalta/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Environment Aruba10. April 2024

“Nature Has Rights, so Let’s Make It Law”

The small island country of Aruba is set to amend its constitution to recognize nature’s inherent rights and affirm the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, as humans and nature are interdependent.

For the constitution to be amended – for the first time since Aruba broke with the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 – two-thirds of Aruba’s 21 lawmakers must vote in favor of the proposed bill recognizing that nature, on land and water, has rights to “protection, conservation, and restoration of its ecosystems and biodiversity and to the regeneration of its life cycles.” 

Aruba would be the world’s second country after Ecuador to recognize the “rights of nature constitutionally.” Nature, specific ecosystems, or individual species have inherent rights – including the right to exist and regenerate – and have some judicial recognition in roughly 30 countries like Bolivia, Spain, and Uganda. The “Explanatory Memorandum” issued by the Ministry of Nature stipulates that the legislation aims to provide a broader and higher level of ecosystem protection since “in an ecosystem, everything is connected. Protection at the system level is necessary because it considers the interrelationships between species and their abiotic environment.” Every five years, Aruba’s state of the environment should be assessed, and related reports should be issued to review and bolster the law.

Inside Climate News

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