The Mother Earth Law and Integral Development to Live Well, Law No 300

The Mother Earth Law is a piece of legislation that epitomises Bolivia’s dedication to sustainable development, respecting the balance between human life and the natural environment, and prioritising the rights and knowledge of the country’s majority indigenous population. The expressed objective of the law is to “establish the vision and fundamentals of integral development in harmony and balance with Mother Earth to Live Well, guaranteeing the continued capacity of Mother Earth to regenerate natural systems, recuperating and strengthening local and ancestral practices, within the framework of rights, obligations and responsibilities”.

In relation to climate change the law has many provisions that outline the state’s vision, citizens’ rights, and responsibilities. It embraces the concept of “climate justice”, defined by the ability of all Bolivian citizens to “Live Well”, especially those who are most vulnerable to climate change. It reinforces the point that some states have more of a global responsibility to respond to climate change.

To encourage sustainable development of natural resources, it states that climate change trajectories should be accounted for when planning and zoning responsible land use.

The law focuses on reducing the risks posed by climate change through six lines of actions:
• The permanent incorporation of prevention of and managed response to natural disasters into the System of Integral Planning
• Risk management for the agricultural sector to prevent diminished crop yields and food insecurity
• The adoption of risk management of disasters as well as adaption to climate change across state development projects; development of informational networks to issue early warnings in times of natural crisis as well as to assist the agricultural industry and indigenous communities plan according to climate conditions
• Strengthening territorial management processes of sub-national governments through the incorporation of risk management and adaption to climate change perspectives
• Articulation between public and private scientific research sectors to share knowledge and co-ordinate research regarding vulnerabilities related to climate change

The Law defines “Living Well” in relation to climate change and lays out the state’s legal obligations. The state will develop policies, strategies and legal techniques to mitigate the effects of climate change and adapt to them through strengthening institutional capacities for the monitoring of climate with the purpose of long-term planning. The state will also encourage the recuperation of traditional indigenous practices that were historically sustainable and allowed for the natural regeneration of resources.

The law also establishes the Plurinational Authority of Mother Earth, within the Ministry of Environment and Water, as the state entity responsible for much of the development, overseeing and co-ordination of projects, programmes and research as it relates to climate change and the objectives of the Plurinational Plan for Climate Change. It also co-ordinates scientific monitoring of GHG emissions. The entity will operate within the framework of “climate justice,” following the principles of Bolivia’s climate change politics.

The Authority will operate through three mechanisms: (1) Joint Mechanism of Mitigation and Adaptation for the Integral and Sustainable Management of Mother Earth’s Forests; (2) Mitigation Mechanism to “Living Well”; and (3) Adaptation Mechanism to “Living Well”.

The Authority is also responsible for the management of the Plurinational Fund of Mother Earth. The Fund will be financed with multilateral and bilateral aid, public money from the national government allocated to mitigation or adaptation, funds from private donors, national or international loans, and funds at the disposal of the executive branch.


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