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WCC 2012 Res 100 - Activity Report

General Information
IUCN Constituent: 
Period covered: 
Geographic scope: 
In implementing this Resolution your organization has worked/consulted with...
IUCN Members: 
Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales ( FARN ) / Argentina
Fondo Mundial Para la Naturaleza (WWF Colombia) ( WWF - Colombia ) / Colombia
IUCN Commissions: 
Other non-IUCN related organisations: 
Cuatro Al Cubo, Dale la Cara al Atoyac, Guadalupe Madre Tierra, Instituto Baleia Jubarte, Instituto Justiça Ambiental, International Rivers, La Asociación Civil CAPIBARA, Naturaleza, Derecho y Sociedad, The Sea-Change Trust, SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature’s Rights, North Coast Stream Flow Coalition, Nosotrox Nuiwari, A.C., Organi - K, Organización para
Indicate and briefly describe any actions that have been carried out to implement this Resolution: 
Education/Communication/Raising awarenessWe are helping law schools and their students incorporate the global Earth Law movement into their curriculum's and student activities.Earth Law Center developed the first-ever Earth Law course, which was taught at the Vermont Law School’s summer session for six years with great success. We also have created a secondary school "booster" curriculum - designed to complement science learning with hands on construction of a bottle biosphere. We have scaled outreach, contacting over 1000 schools to offer the Earth law course, club, guest lecturing and offer activities such as a rights of nature mock trail. Within the IUCN, we submitted to the WCEL online seminar to train lawyers and judges on rights of nature issues (currently under consideration). ELC will train judges and lawyers on rights of nature at its planned online seminar, which will feature leading judges and other legal experts from around the world.On-going
Policy influencing/advocacyELC worked to integrate existing global victories for river rights (including in New Zealand and Colombia), as well as ecological principles of river health, into a common set of rights that are universal for all rivers. Already, ELC’s Universal Declaration of Rights of Rivers was cited in an amicus brief in Patagonia, in support of the San Juan River’s right to flow. It also served as the basis for a rights of nature law in Mexico City – the first-ever such law in North America. ELC has been working working with local partners – including Cuatro al Cubo and others – to secure legal rights for rivers in Mexico. Based on this effort, the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District included the rights of waterways within the recently approved Water Sustainability Law of Mexico City (“Ley de Sustentabilidad Hídrica de la Ciudad de México”). This landmark water law recognizes that rivers, channels and streams possess a right to flow, a right to avoid harmful alterations to ecosystems and biodiversity, a right to be free from contamination, and a right to rescue and rehabilitate important water zones, amongst others. The law is only awaiting publication in the "Official Gazette" of Mexico City to become official. ELC continues to advocate for the California State Water Resources Control Board to formally identify the most over-diverted waterways as “impaired” due to low flows under the Clean Water Act. Identification would help restore water to these rivers and streams. In November 2017, ELC and co-plaintiffs filed a lawsuit on this issue, with Lawyers for Clean Water representing our organization. ELC is working with community grassroots organization Sacred Water, Sacred Land and local indigenous tribes to secure legal rights for the Great Lakes in the US.On-going
Policy influencing/advocacyEarth Law Center’s Ocean Rights Program promotes a new paradigm for ocean governance that focuses on the ocean’s own well-being. The program aims to not only establish protection for marine ecosystems, but to ensure these areas are fully protected and effectively managed. ELC’s objectives to ensure this outcome include: Creating a holistic and ocean rights-based model framework for marine protected areas. Establishing marine protected areas and sanctuaries, and securing legal rights for these areas. Ensuring international treaty laws reflect the inherent rights of the ocean (such as through the Marine Biodiversity Treaty for the High Seas and Beyond, currently under negotiation). Passing rights of nature laws in coastal communities. ELC completed a first draft of a model framework for marine protected areas after 500 hours of research and analysis. This framework serves as a tool and guideline for how to incorporate rights of nature into ocean governance. THe Framework underwent an online 'call for inputs' to gain expert recommendations. 42 inputs were received, including from IUCN WCEL members. Additionally, we created the 'Ocean Rights Initiative' calling upon the United Nations and stakeholders to adopt a holistic and rights-based approach to ocean governance. ELC has created multiple partnerships to establish legal rights for nature in marine area management. We launched a campaign with partners Organización para la Conservación de Cetaceos to gain legal rights for the Whale and Dolphin Sanctuary in Uruguay. We worked with groups in South Africa to call upon Parliament to amend the new Marine Spatial Planning Bill to include rights of nature and the precautionary approach. A comment letter has been passed to members of Parliament and we look forward to keeping you posted on the bill’s final language. And finally, ELC was invited to collaborate with the French Research Institute for Development (IRD) on drafting a convention on the Rights of the Pacific Ocean.On-going
Please report on the result /achievement of the actions taken: 
- ELC's law school course is now being taught at 5 law schools and secondary school curriculum starting in China.
- The Earth Law Framework for Marine Protected Areas has been endorsed by Mission Blue and received great feedback from experts, scientists, lawyers, governments (including the Cook Islands) and IUCN members.
- The UN Ocean Rights Initiative has received over 65 sign ons from 32 countries.
- Water Sustainability Law of Mexico City (“Ley de Sustentabilidad Hídrica de la Ciudad de México”) that recognizes the rights of rivers.
- ELC’s Universal Declaration of Rights of Rivers was cited in an amicus brief in Patagonia, in support of the San Juan River’s right to flow.
What challenges have you encountered in implementing this Resolution and what measures have you taken to overcome them?: 
Rights of nature is a new paradigm, so many people either do note know, or resist. Education and outreach has been key, as well as precedents, such as those in New Zealand, that show that is can be done.
Identify and briefly describe what future actions are planned for the implementation of this Resolution: 
Future ActionDescription
Policy influencing/advocacyELC and partners seek to build from our victory in Mexico to secure immediate rights for three rivers in particular: the Magdalena, Atoyac (Puebla), and San Pedro Mezquital. we will solicit feedback on and endorsements of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Rivers from additional entities from across the globe in order to build consensus.
Policy influencing/advocacyELC will begin outreach to UN Country representatives, in hopes of a UN resolution on the adoption of rights of the ocean into the Treaty for Biodiversity on the High Seas (which is due to begin negotiation in 2018). Additionally, meetings will begin for the convention on the Rights of the Pacific Ocean this year. The Earth Law Framework for MaPAs will be presented within a working group of the WCEL for final revisions and a pilot project launch.
Additional Information