25 youth plaintiffs, including Indigenous youth, between the ages of 7 and 25, sued Colombian governmental bodies, municipalities, and three autonomous regional corporations operating in the Amazon Rainforest for “increased deforestation in the Amazon.” According to the Paris Agreement and Colombian Law 1753 of 2015, the government committed to reducing the net rate of Amazon deforestation to zero by 2020, and to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, the plaintiffs showed that the government had increased deforestation in the Amazon, threatening their fundamental rights to a healthy environment, life, food and water. The plaintiffs lodged an acción de tutela, a legal mechanism for individuals to claim immediate protection of their fundamental rights. The Supreme Court of Justice ruled in favour of the plaintiffs and recognized for the first time that the Colombian Amazon is itself a subject of rights. The Court issued five mandatory orders against the defendants to reduce deforestation and GHG emissions.
Environmental Legal Questions: