BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Colombia’s highest court has told the government it must take urgent action to protect its Amazon rainforest and stem rising deforestation, in what campaigners said was an historic moment that should help conserve forests and counter climate change.
In their ruling on Thursday, the judges said that Colombia – which is home to a swathe of rainforest roughly the size of Germany and England combined – saw deforestation rates in its Amazon region increase by 44 percent from 2015 to 2016.
“It is clear, despite numerous international commitments, regulations … that the Colombian state has not efficiently addressed the problem of deforestation in the Amazon,” the supreme court said.
The ruling comes after a group of 25 young plaintiffs, ranging in age from seven to 26, filed a lawsuit against the government in January demanding it protect their right to a healthy environment.
The plaintiffs had said the government’s failure to stop the destruction of the Amazon jeopardized their futures and violated their constitutional rights to a healthy environment, life, food and water.