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Bamboo Forest, China (Courtesy of Kelly Dorkenoo)

Rights of Nature Law and Policy

The law has seen the beginning of an evolution toward recognition of the inherent rights of Nature to exist, thrive and evolve. This evolving legal approach acknowledges that the traditional environmental regulatory systems generally described herein regard nature as property to be used for human benefit, rather than a rights-bearing partner with which humanity has co-evolved. Rights of Nature is grounded in the recognition that humankind and Nature share a fundamental, non-anthropocentric relationship given our shared existence on this planet, and it creates guidance for actions that respect this relationship. Legal provisions recognizing the Rights of Nature, sometimes referred to as Earth Jurisprudence, include constitutions, national statutes, and local laws. In addition, new policies, guidelines and resolutions are increasingly pointing to the need for a legal approach that recognizes the rights of the Earth to well-being.

Member States




  • Legal Case
    T.N Godavarman Thirumulpad Vs. Union of India & Others
  • T.N Godavarman Thirumulpad Vs. Union of India & Others (2012) is known for the opinions of Judges K.S. Radhakrishnan and Chandramauli Kr. Prasad who asserted that Environmental Justice could be achieved only if we drift away from anthropocentric principles. Relevant section (Para.14) is highlighted in the document.


1New Zealand

1United States


G77 + China


UN Forum on Forests (UNFF)