Rights for Nature and Recognition of Ecuador’s Cultural Diversity to be Proposed in New Constitution

April 30, 2008 | By The Pachamama Alliance

April, 2008 has been a busy month for Fundación Pachamama in its efforts to positively influence Ecuador’s Constitutional Assembly, so that fundamental environmental and social rights are incorporated into the country’s new carta magna. The most significant achievement came in mid-April when the Assembly agreed to include both Rights for Nature and “plurinacionalidad” into its proposal for the new Constitution. Undoubtedly, Pachamama played a pivotal role in getting critical support from the Assembly for these principles.

A few important actions led by Fundación Pachamama are worth noting:

- In coordination with assemblyman César Greffa and Ecuador’s national indigenous organization, CONAIE, Pachamama helped bring six Amazonian shamans to the Assembly in Montecristi. On April 7th, the shamans publicly conducted a traditional cleansing ritual in the front door of the Assembly hall. Needless to say, the ceremony attracted significant attention from assembly people and their counselors, as well as the national press. The shamans “cleansed” the Assembly’s President, Alberto Acosta, and numerous other assemblymen and women. The political objective of this act was to call attention to, and generate support for, plurinacionalidad as a fundamental principle to be enshrined in the Constitution – a principle that recognizes and values Ecuador’s cultural diversity as a cornerstone of the country’s past, present, and future well-being. That same night, the shamans conducted another equally successful event behind closed doors to cleanse the Assembly meeting space. There was wide public support for this act.

- During the same visit to Montecristi, Pachamama facilitated a meeting with the CONAIE Governing Council in which they discussed and debated, again, Rights of Nature. By the end of the meeting, the CONAIE publicly endorsed the Rights for Nature proposal. Rights for Nature was subsequently presented and discussed with the full Assembly.

It’s worth noting that although the Assembly has incorporated Rights for Nature and plurinacionalidad into its proposal for the new Constitution, nothing is guaranteed until the proposal is formally presented to, and approved by, the Ecuadorian public. Until then, Pachamama will continue to take strategic actions to forward these critical causes.