Future Generations v. Ministry of the Environment and Others
|Principle law(s):||Colombian Constitution|
According to a press release and copy of the complaint obtained from the organization Dejusticia, 25 youth plaintiffs between the ages of 7 and 26 years old have sued several bodies within the Colombian government, Colombian municipalities, and a number of corporations to enforce their claimed rights to a healthy environment, life, health, food, and water. The plaintiffs allege that climate change along with the government’s failure to reduce deforestation and ensure compliance with a target for zero-net deforestation in the Colombian Amazon by the year 2020, (as agreed under the Paris Agreement and the National Development Plan 2014-2018), threatens plaintiffs’ fundamental rights. The youth plaintiffs have filed a special constitutional claim called a “tutela” used to enforce fundamental rights.
A lower court ruled against the youth plaintiffs. Youth plaintiffs filed an appeal on February 16, 2018.
On April 5, 2018, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court decision, recognizing that the “fundamental rights of life, health, the minimum subsistence, freedom, and human dignity are substantially linked and determined by the environment and the ecosystem.” It further recognized the Colombian Amazon as a “subject of rights” in the same manner that the Constitutional Court recognized the Atrato River. The Supreme Court declared that the Colombian Amazon accordingly was entitled to protection, conservation, maintenance, and restoration. The Court ordered the government to formulate and implement action plans to address deforestation in the Amazon.