Convention on Biological Diversity Advances Rights of Nature in Post-2020 Global Framework

Industry: Environment

The Convention on Biological Diversity is the first international environmental treaty to advance the Rights of Nature, a milestone for the global environmental movement.

Boulder, United States (PRUnderground) September 3rd, 2020

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has become the first international environmental treaty proposing to advance the Rights of Nature. This milestone occurred in the updated “zero draft” for a post-2020 global biodiversity framework, which will be up for adoption in 2021 in Kunming, China.

Specifically, the zero draft added the following approach to implement the framework: “Consider and recognize, where appropriate, the rights of nature.”

“This important milestone will help inspire State parties to join the growing number of governments worldwide that recognize and enforce the Rights of Nature, while also giving Nature a stronger voice within the CBD,” said Ilana Platkiewicz, an Environmental Law Associate at Earth Law Center.

“Recognizing the Rights of Nature makes possible a respectful relationship between humans and Nature. The post-2020 framework needs this transformative policy action to fulfill its goals and protect biodiversity,” said Pella Thiel, Coordinator of Rights of Nature Sweden.

The post-2020 global biodiversity framework seeks to create an ambitious plan to transform society’s relationship with biodiversity and to fulfill, by 2050, the shared vision of living in harmony with nature. In January 2020, the CBD Secretariat published a “zero draft” of the framework that did not refer to the Rights of Nature. In the following months, a coalition of organizations—including Rights of Mother Earth, Earth Law Center, Rights of Nature Sweden, and Earth Advocacy Youth—advocated for the Rights of Nature. On August 17, 2020, the Secretariat released an updated draft highlighting the Rights of Nature as a new “enabling condition” of the post-2020 framework.

“Recognizing the Rights of Nature in the biodiversity convention is a milestone for Nature’s protection. We hope it will support our endeavor for Nature to be treated as a rights-bearing entity in all national legal systems, with intrinsic rights to exist and flourish, irrespective of its use and value to humans,” said Doris Ragettli, co-founder of Rights of Mother Earth. 

“Youth worldwide are at the forefront of advancing counter norms such as the Rights of Nature, as they realize that ‘business as usual’ is not an option for them nor the Earth system as a whole. We are very happy to be a part of this important work for the inclusion of Rights of Nature in the Post-2020 framework,” said Hana Begovic, Director and Coordinator of Earth Advocacy Youth.

Earth Law Center ( works to transform the law to recognize and protect nature’s inherent rights to exist, thrive, and evolve. 

Rights of Nature Sweden ( works with Rights of Nature and Earth jurisprudence as systemic tools for the transition to a society in harmony with Nature. 

Rights of Mother Earth ( is a global movement campaign for the adoption of a Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth by the United Nations.

Earth Advocacy Youth ( works to identify and apply bold ecocentric solutions and practices through youth-led policy, education and legal action.

Read our joint CBD brief here:

About Earth Law Center

Since 2008, ELC has worked to advance ecocentric (as opposed to human-focused) legal paradigms that uphold healthy, functioning ecosystems as their overarching goal. By contrast, the current legal systems in most countries treat natural systems as mere “resources” or “property” for incessant human consumption far beyond limits. Much of ELC’s work has taken the form of giving legal rights to nature, which seeks to recognize ecosystems as rights-bearing entities, just as humans and corporations have rights. However, we are increasingly focused on achieving broader legal and societal reform necessary to achieve an ecocentric society that lives in harmony with nature.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Press Contact

Briana Casali
Contact Us