After being one of the last countries in the region to create a Ministry of the Environment (2015), Panama seems to be not only catching up, but overtaking – by becoming one of the first countries in the world to recognise the fundamental rights of nature.

Through Law 287, enacted at the end of February 2022, the government has declared that nature has rights that allow it to be defended in court.

In the future, it will ensure the implementation of all necessary measures to prevent and limit the harmful effects of human activities contributing to the extinction of species, the destruction of ecosystems and the permanent alteration of natural cycles and climate, including unsustainable extraction of natural resources, unsustainable and damaging fishing of threatened or endangered species, emission of greenhouse gases, deforestation and other human activities that destroy nature.

This is very good news in a country where deforestation is rampant, even though the natural wealth of the territory is unique and exceptional.

Let us also hope that this law will provide legal ammunition to forest communities, such as the Embera-Wounaan, who have been fighting for many years to preserve their precious natural heritage.

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