TLP Executive Director Callie Veelenturf (left) and Biologist Felipe Baker (right) met with the First Lady of Panama, Yazmin Colon de Cortizo, to discuss adding Rights for Nature into Panama's constitution and sponsoring a resolution for Rights for Nature for the United Nations General Assembly in September 2020.

The Rights for Nature for Panama's Constitution

At The Leatherback Project, we have gained a new perspective on what needs to be the basis of the change we need to see globally for the environment if we are to not only accomplish the seventeen #SustainableDevelopmentGoals2030 but also find balance as a species on Earth and make peace with nature….

Globally, we need to establish #RightsforNature.

Ecuador and Bolivia are the only two countries that have established Rights for Nature in their constitutions, but other countries (New Zealand, Canada, India, etc.) have documented legal cases, particularly pertaining to indigenous groups and lands, where the rights of various bodies of nature have been recognized. Indigenous groups have been upholding and fighting for the rights for nature for generations. Not only do we envision the Rights for Nature spreading globally in the next decade, but we also envision the United Nations allocating five seats at the General Assembly for five representatives of the five different landscapes officially recognized by the UN: Oceans, Forests, Drylands, Mountains, and Wetlands.

Our Founder and Executive Director, Callie Veelenturf, wrote an resolution for the Rights for Nature with the hope that one or several of the member states will decide to sponsor it (or an iteration of it) for the agenda of the UN General Assembly in September 2020.

On Tuesday February 11, 2020 local biologist Felipe Baker PV and Callie Veelenturf presented the resolution and idea to an environmentally minded senator of Panama, Senator Juan Diego Vasquez with the goals of not only obtaining sponsorship for the resolution but also for drafting articles for the Rights for Nature for Panama’s constitution, which is currently being revised. Juan Diego committed on camera to supporting this initiative by working together to draft articles for the constitution and arranging a meeting with the Panamanian representative to the United Nations to adapt the resolution for the GA in September.

On Wednesday February 12, 2020 The Leatherback Project brought the #RightsforNature conversation to the Presidential Palace in Panama City to meet with the First Lady of Panama, Yazmín Colón de Cortizo. She’s holding a gift that TLP gave her, a mola of a sea turtle and other marine life that was hand crafted by a local Guna Yala indigenous community member. The message of urgency and ideas of sponsorshing a resolution for the Rights for Nature for the UN General Assembly and including Rights for Nature in the Panamanian constitution were very well received! Yazmín committed to supporting us and helping us reach the various individuals and groups that will hopefully be involved in making this a reality.

There is simply no more time waste. We must take drastic action to protect the planet and it needs to happen at a pace much faster than the typical rate of change of society. Let’s go humans.

TLP Executive Director Callie Veelenturf and Biologist Felipe Baker met with Diputado Juan Diego Vasquez about drafting articles for the Rights for Nature for Panama's Constitution and sponsoring a resolution for the Rights for Nature for the United Nations General Assembly in September 2020.