Reportaje : Día de la Tierra : logros desde el histórico acuerdo de Montreal
Author: Paloma Martínez Méndez

Date : April 22, 2024
Source : Radio Canada International

The Article refers to the signing of the Kunning-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, under which countries committed to slowing and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030, protecting 30% of the planet’s ecosystems, combating deforestation and promoting sustainable agriculture and fisheries.

The agreement went even further by recognizing the intrinsic rights of Nature and Mother Earth, which means moving away from viewing natural elements solely as exploitable resources, to recognizing them as living entities with inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve.

The report looks at what has changed since the inclusion of these rights in the Global Biodiversity Framework.

It quotes our President, Yenny Vega Cárdenas, links to our Interactive Map and cites several new recognitions and steps in Canada and around the world to give nature and rivers real status in law. 

This pristine Canadian river has legal personhood, a new approach to conserving nature
Author : Elizabeth Benner

Date : February 1st, 2024
Source : CBC News

The author comments on the new documentary I am the Magpie River, and examines how a Quebec river became a person in the eyes of the law, and how it is thus protected. She explains the community’s process for protecting the river.

She quotes our president, Yenny Vega Cárdenas, who proposed the solution of granting the river legal person status, a measure that has been used to protect ecosystems in Ecuador, New Zealand, Spain and Colombia.

“Legal person status means, in law, that we can’t destroy the ecosystem. That it is not an object to be exploited, but a person to be protected.” This approach to conservation is in line with the legal framework of the Rights of Nature, which recognizes that natural phenomena, such as rivers and forests, have the intrinsic right to exist outside their relationship with man.

She quotes our president on the question of damage caused by the river: “In the event of damage, due to flooding for example, Cárdenas explains that the Magpie would probably not be held responsible. ‘The river doesn’t commit intentional damage, so it can’t be sued,’ she says, pointing out that those who build in known flood zones are also aware of the risks.”

Legislation that provides nature the same rights as humans gains traction in some countries

Author : Ben Tracy and Kerry Breen
Date : January 9, 2023
Source : CBS News

A new CBS’ article explores the growing global movement aiming to grant legal protections to plants, animals, and ecosystems similar to those afforded to humans.

Callie Veelenturf, a marine biologist and National Geographic explorer, spearheaded the legislation for the rights of nature in Panama, leading to the closure of one of the world’s largest copper mines. Inspired by a book on the rights of nature, Veelenturf successfully proposed this idea to Panama’s first lady and parliament. Panama now joins Ecuador and Bolivia as a country officially recognizing the rights of nature on a national scale.

Similar movements are emerging worldwide, presenting a bold approach to ecosystem protection

Towards the constitutional recognition of the rights of Nature in Ireland

Author : Louise Cullen
Date : December 16, 2023
Source : BBC

Ireland is poised to become the first country in the European Union to incorporate the rights of Nature into its national constitution. The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action has recommended advancing a referendum to safeguard biodiversity, granting Nature rights comparable to those of individuals. The initiative follows a report from the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss. The global Rights of Nature movement advocates recognizing natural entities, like trees and rivers, as having the right to exist, flourish, and be protected.
The Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights, supported by Dr. Peter Doran of Queen’s University Belfast School of Law, testified before the Joint Committee, which has now received praise for its recommendation. 
If the Irish parliament proceeds with a national referendum and it gains public approval, Ireland would set a precedent within the EU by constitutionally acknowledging the rights of Nature, aligning with a growing global trend.

Full article available on BBC webpage

[Reportaje] Mention of Mother Earth at COP28 "is a breakthrough"
Author: Maria-Gabriela Aguzzi

Date : 14 December 2023
Source : Radio Canada International

After holding a panel on the protection of the St. Lawrence River and the Arabian Sea through their recognition as legal persons, the International Observatory for the Rights of Nature (IOLN) celebrated the inclusion of the term “Mother Earth” in the final decisions of COP 28, held in Dubai.

The president of the OIDN, Yenny Vega Cárdenas, declared from Dubai to RCI that the inclusion of the words Mother Earth in the documents of the meeting opens the door for countries to eventually include elements linked to the rights of Nature, when talking about Mother Earth.

Full article in RCI.

Press Release OIDN Team:
Authors : Yenny Vega Cardenas, Daniel Turp & Inès Benadda

Date : 13 December 2023
Source: Press Release OIDN

At the close of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28), the Parties adopted a decision that “[r]ecalls the 13th preambular paragraph of the Paris Agreement, which notes the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including oceans, and the protection of biodiversity, recognized by some cultures as Mother Earth, and notes the importance for some of the concept of ‘climate justice’ when taking action to address climate change;”.

According to the International Observatory for the Rights of Nature (IORN), this is a breakthrough, as for the first time, Mother Earth is mentioned in the provisions on non-market-based approaches promoted in the Paris Agreement.

Full text here:

Opening of COP 28 in Dubai, putting Nature at the center of decisions

Author : Yenny Vega Cardenas, Inès Benadda, Daniel Turp
Date : December 1, 2023
Source : Le Devoir

Check out an insightful article published in Le Devoir by Yenny Vega Cárdenas, Inès Benadda, and Daniel Turp, highlighting the climate challenges faced by the UAE, the 7th largest oil producer. COP28 focuses on the Global Adaptation Goal (GAG), with an event at the Canada Pavilion exploring innovative actions to preserve the Sea of Oman and the St. Lawrence River. The involvement of indigenous peoples, local communities, women, and youth is crucial for genuine climate justice.

Full article available on Le Devoir.

Climate justice, a priority at COP 28 in Dubai

Author : Yenny Vega Cardenas Date : Novembre 27, 2023 Source : El Espectador


“The COP28 on climate change will be led by the United Arab Emirates, paradoxically the seventh-largest oil producer in the world. The president of the COP is the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, who is also the Minister of Industry and Technology of this country. This country will face the challenge of building consensus among different stakeholders and promoting mitigation goals, given that we have only seven years left to meet global commitments to limit the average temperature increase to 1.5°C, halving emissions by 2030.”

Full article available on El Spectador.

Launch of the Ontario Chapter: a call to action for the protection of the St. Lawrence River’s rights in Ontario

Dear friends of Nature,

Today, we are filled with enthusiasm and determination as we embark on a new chapter dedicated to the expansion of the St. Lawrence River Alliance in the province of Ontario.

The St. Lawrence River traverses the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Québec, as well as the U.S. state of New York. As a physical entity, the St. Lawrence spans across 3 058 km of territorial lines – beginning at the outflow of Lake Ontario and flowing adjacent to Gananoque, Brockville, Morristown, Ogdensburg, Massena, Cornwall, Montréal, Québec City and Trois-Rivières, before draining into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The River has not only been a historical site of significance for various communities in Canada but a site for ecological campaigns, where many organizations and experts have emphasized the ecological and cultural importance of the river to many surrounding ecosystems. The River, however, has yet to be recognized as a legal person in the context of Canadian law. There is an international movement under way, where countries like Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Ecuador and Colombia have granted legal personhood to natural entities. These transformations in legal practices and policies are causing an international paradigm shift in how humans think and relate to their natural environment, one which the IORN supports.

In our previous, inaugural campaign for the St. Lawrence River Alliance in the province of Québec, the IORN met with surrounding municipalities, experts and First Nations communities to fortify an awareness for river rights. Over the years of working closely with alliances, the IORN made significant legal and political change in respect to river rights and protection policies. On May 5th, 2022, Émilise Lessard-Therrien, Member of Parliament for the Québec Solidaire political party, introduced a Bill in the National Assembly of Québec to recognize the river’s rights. On the same day, Alexandre Boulerice, Member of Parliament, introduced Bill C-271 in the House of Commons to recognize the legal personality and rights of the St. Lawrence River and the role of First Nations communities as legal guardians for the territory and waters. On April 23, 2023, the Assembly of the First Nations Québec-Labrador recognized the Legal Personhood of the St. Lawrence River and announced the news before the UN General Assembly on World Mother Earth Day.


he Ontario Chapter is now working on recognizing the legal personhood of the River in the Ontario Legal System, as inspired by the work done in its neighbouring province. With the help of our internal and external networks, we hope to make significant changes in how our perceptions of rivers as legal persons can be shifted in socio-cultural, legal, and political systems. This project will entail working closely with First Nations communities, experts and municipalities in the province of Ontario in order to build an alliance for the protection of the St. Lawrence River. The IORN is continuously committed to protecting the rights of nature at the provincial, national and global level and thus requires a holistic view of ecological advocacy. It is through working together and eliminating the anthropocentric visions of nature that we can make impactful changes.

We invite all of you to participate in this initiative, sharing your knowledge, experience and ideas to protect the St. Lawrence River and to promote a future where the Rights of Nature are acknowledged and respected. By joining forces, we can achieve significant change and preserve the rights of this natural entity for future generations.

Welcome to the Ontario Chapter for the Rights of Nature! To stay updated with our work and to learn how to get involved, please visit our social networks and website.

The Ontario Chapter will be led by our esteemed contributor, Kelsey Watt, with the help of Gabrielle Plowens, whose biographies can be found in the “our team” section of our web page and in our social networks.

November 13th, 2023

Milwaukee County recognizes Nature's rights
Author : Lina Tran

Date : Novembre 1, 2023
Source : Milwaukee Public Media

Milwaukee County, in the United States, recently made history by supporting the indigenous-led legal movement for the recognition of the Rights of Nature. The resolution, signed by County Executive David Crowley, affirms a commitment to protect lands and waterways from human harm such as pollution and extraction. Although not legally binding, it is a crucial step in a process aimed at granting rights to Nature.

This step forward is part of a growing global movement to protect the environment!

Read the article Milwaukee Public Media.

Launch of the African Chapter - IONR: a call to action for the preservation of Nature on the continent.

Dear friends of Nature,

Today, we are filled with enthusiasm and determination as we embark on a new chapter dedicated to Africa in our campaign for the rights of Nature. As we all know, Africa is a magnificent continent teeming with diverse ecosystems, rich cultures, and traditions deeply rooted in respect for the Earth. 

This is why it is important to raise awareness of African ecosystems and their defenders, highlight the significant challenges they face, and promote harmonious coexistence with Nature.

Africa is a true treasure trove of biodiversity, home to a unique flora and fauna. However, it also faces several major environmental challenges, including climate change, loss of biodiversity, difficulties in accessing drinking water, and the preservation of indigenous cultural practices. Our new chapter is dedicated to shedding light on these crucial issues and exploring how recognizing the rights of Nature can offer sustainable solutions.

We invite all of you to participate in this initiative, sharing your knowledge, experience, and ideas to protect Africa’s natural wealth and promote a future where the rights of Nature are acknowledged and respected. By joining forces, we can achieve significant change and preserve the beauty and diversity of this extraordinary continent for future generations.

Welcome to the African Chapter of the Rights of Nature!

The African Chapter will be led by our esteemed contributor, Inès Carine Singhe, whose biography can be found in the “our team” section of our web page and in our social networks.

October 19, 2023

Jean-Charles Piétacho says no to a dam on the Magpie in front of François Legault, Le Nord-Côtier, October 12, 2023.

The chief of the Innu Community of Ekuanitshit, Jean-Charles Piétacho, took advantage of the platform he had at the inauguration of the La Romaine complex to tell Prime Minister François Legault loud and clear that there is no question of a new dam on the Magpie River. Read Vincent-Rioux Berrouard’s article in Nord-Côtier :


“Mr. Legault, you’re going to learn a very simple word and you’re going to say Mauaut Muteshekau Shipu, Mauaut means No. This is going to be a open door towards reconciliation”. A fine quote from Grand Chief Pietacho in Benjamin Ducornait’s journalistic piece.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Pedro Arrojo Agudo

Fulfilling the human rights of those living in poverty and restoring the health of aquatic ecosystems: two converging challenges:

The report mentions the importance of the Rights of Nature movement and the apport of granting legal personality to Rivers to preserve aquatic ecosystems and thus better protect the human right to water. It also mentions the recognition of legal personhood to the Magpie River and Atrato River and also the El Mar Menor. 

We should also mention the work the IONR put into writing a brief on this issue for the Rapporteur, with the help of our associate researchers Teresa Vicente, Piotr Nieznanski and others.

First Nations in Quebec and Labrador recognize the rights of the St. Lawrence River.
Paloma Martinez Méndez

May 1st 2023
Radio-Canada(ICI RDI)

On April 19, 2023, the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador passed a resolution recognizing the legal personhood of the St. Lawrence River in Canada. This resolution was presented at the United Nations General to commemorate the International Mother Earth Day.  According to Chief Ghislain Picard, it is crucial to acknowledge the legal personality of Nature because human rights depend on the well-being of these ecosystems. This initiative is part of a broader international movement advocating for the rights of ecosystems, thereby laying the groundwork for the recognition of a General Assembly of Mother Earth at the United Nations scheduled for 2024 and the development of a Universal Charter of Mother Earth Rights to protect these living entities that sustain our lives.

Le Fleuve Saint-Laurent, personnalité juridique.
Bonjour la Côte, Radio

Interview with Ghislain Picard, Chief First Nations Assembly -Quebec-Labrador
April 26 2023
Radio Canada Ohdio

The Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Labrador, Ghislain Picard, shares his thoughts on the initiative to grant legal personality to the St. Lawrence River. This resolution was presented at the United Nations General Assembly in April 2023, as part of Earth Mother Day.

This initiative aims to move beyond symbolism and take concrete action to protect the St. Lawrence River, particularly by involving the indigenous communities concerned in all legislative processes related to the river and its protection. According to Mr. Picard, current threats to the protection of the river will persist as long as local indigenous communities are not fully engaged.

This resolution has been well-received and is part of a global movement that seeks legal protection for rivers, territories, and sacred sites in partnership with local indigenous communities. According to Mr. Picard, the protection of human rights is closely intertwined with the protection of the rights of Mother Earth.

La personnalité juridique du fleuve Saint-Laurent reconnue et présentée par les Premières Nations à l’ONU.

First Nations Assembly- Québec - Labrador
April 24 2023
Press Release Newswire.

The Chiefs of the APNQL (Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador) unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the legal personality of the St. Lawrence River, which has been submitted to the United Nations in New York. This initiative is part of a collective effort by the Chiefs to establish a First Nation alliance aimed at ensuring the protection and sustainability of the St. Lawrence ecosystem and the Great Lakes Watershed.

Reportage “La 2e Conférence de l’ONU sur l’eau brosse un tableau optimiste de l’avenir
Paloma Martínez

April 6 2023

Yenny Vega Cárdenas, lawyer and president of the Observatoire international des droits de la Nature, participated in a United Nations conference on water. She emphasized the importance of protecting water, which is often overlooked in global environmental concerns. Ms. Vega Cárdenas argued for granting legal personality to natural elements like the St. Lawrence River to ensure their protection and provide compensation in case of damage. Other participants, including indigenous representatives, highlighted examples of rivers that have obtained legal rights to underscore the need for a holistic approach to preserving these ecosystems. The conference also highlighted the significance of indigenous science and reconciliation in preserving water and the environment. Finally, the Action Program for Water resulting from the conference gathered over 700 commitments to address the global water crisis and ensure a sustainable future for this vital resource.

A global movement is granting rivers legal personhood. Could the Gatineau River be next?
Ben Andrew

April 2 2023
CBC News (Ottawa)

A global movement to grant legal personhood to rivers has made its way to Canada, with local Indigenous leader Gilbert Whiteduck advocating for the Gatineau River to be the next recipient of this designation. This movement, primarily led by Indigenous communities, environmental organizations, and scientists, seeks to provide rivers and other ecological features with stronger legal protections by granting them rights typically reserved for individuals. Those protections would be the right to be preserved, and the right to take legal action and empower its protector to sue the government.  Canada saw its first example with the legal recognition of the Muteshekau-shipu (Magpie River) in Quebec, granting it several legal rights. Whiteduck and others believe that this legal personhood is essential for the future of water protection worldwide.

Yenny Vega Cárdenas, a Quebec lawyer and president of the International Observatory on the Rights of Nature, has presented on legal protections for the Magpie River at the United Nations. She hopes that the recognition of the Gatineau River as a legal person may follow, aiming to make rivers more fishable, drinkable, and swimmable. Cárdenas is also advocating for the St. Lawrence River to be recognized as a legal person by both Canada’s Parliament and Quebec’s National Assembly. Whiteduck and others believe that this legal personhood is essential for the future of water protection worldwide.

Jean-Charles Piétacho et Luc Noël ont défendu la rivière Magpie à l’ONU

March 25 2023

The chief of the Innu community of Ekuanitshit, Jean-Charles Piétacho, and the prefect of the MRC of Minganie, Luc Noël, traveled to New York to discuss the protection of the Magpie River on World Water Day. They proudly represented the Muteshekau-shipu Alliance at the United Nations during a conference organized by the International Observatory on the Rights of Nature. Their speech aimed to reaffirm the need to protect the Magpie River by declaring it an Innu-protected area, preserving its natural flow and preventing potential hydroelectric dam projects. They call on the Quebec government to recognize this part of the territory as an Innu-protected area in order to defend the rights of the river.

10 membres de l’Alliance St-Laurent aux quartiers généraux des Nations Unies à New York
Yenny Vegas Cardenas, Observatoire international des droits de la Nature

March 26 2023
Fox8/ EIN Presswire

Several members of the Magtogoek St. Lawrence Alliance gathered to represent the voice of the St. Lawrence River at the 2023 United Nations Water Conference in New York. During a panel discussion, Jean-Charles Piétacho and Luc Noël discussed the legal personality of the Magpie River, emphasizing the importance of a holistic approach to river protection, especially in the context of mitigating the effects of climate change. Yenny Vega Cardenas, president of the International Observaroty on the Rights of Nature, presented the progress of the bill seeking to grant legal personality to the St. Lawrence River before the Federal Parliament, garnering serious interest. The St. Lawrence Alliance, consisting of various stakeholders, aims to advocate for the rights of the St. Lawrence River and relies on the support of numerous parties, including 17 municipalities and 5 Innu nations. This initiative seeks to provide greater protection to the St. Lawrence River, a cultural and environmental gem that hosts a multitude of species.

Accès à l’eau potable dans les communautés autochtones. Ohdio Radio-Canada, 19 février, 2023.
Interview with Yenny Vega Cardenas by Ariane Cipriani

February 19 2023

Drinking water is increasingly attracting the interest of the private industry and commercial stakeholders in Canada, despite the existence of a moratorium limiting water exports. In Quebec, water is protected as a common good, not meant for commercial use. However, as highlighted by Yenny Vega Cardenas, President of the International Observatory on the Rights of Nature, there are legal framework gaps that allow companies to appropriate certain water sources for private purposes, such as bottling and selling water, thus jeopardizing access to clean drinking water in Quebec.

First Nations play an essential role in efforts to safeguard clean drinking water, as their perspective on water is rooted in an ecosystem paradigm: water is considered to belong to the community and the ecosystem, and it must remain there.

Me Vega Cardenas underscores the significant difference when an Indigenous community becomes a guardian of a river, giving the river a voice and enabling it to continue flowing. By protecting rivers from pollution, dams, or large-scale extractions, we also safeguard the vital access of human beings to this essential resource.

Collection Reportages- «Magpie : le cours de la justice ». TV5Monde

In this documentary film, the process of recognizing the Magpie River as a legal entity is highlighted. Interviews with Chief Piétacho, Minganie Warden Luc Noël and his legal team are presented. The involvement of the International Observatory for the Rights of Nature in this initiative is also outlined by President Yenny Vega Cardenas.

Les droits de la Terre-Mère inclus dans l’accord de la COP15
January 4 2023

La Croisée, Ohdio, Radio-Canada Alberta

The final agreement at the conclusion of COP15, which took place in Montreal in December 2022, included the recognition of the rights of Mother Earth. Yenny Vegas Cardenas, the director of the Observatory for the Rights of Nature, explains the implications of this paradigm shift in law. By granting legal personality to Nature, whether it’s a river, an ecosystem, or a territory, legal systems stop perceiving Nature as an object to be exploited and devoid of rights, and instead placing it on an equal footing. Jurisprudence increasingly takes into consideration the need for protection and the issues of the communities living in these areas, and legal personality is an additional tool to promote equality between human beings and Nature.

Report: Historic inclusion of Mother Earth's rights in the COP15 final pact.
Paloma Martinez
23 -12- 2022

The United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15), held in Montreal in December 2022, marked a historic moment by introducing the concept of the rights of Mother Earth in an international convention. This significant advancement was celebrated by Yenny Vegas Cardenas, the President of the Observatory for the rights of Nature. She considers this a critical moment for recognizing the rights of Nature within the context of sustainable development. She emphasizes the importance of supporting local indigenous communities who share an “ecocentric” vision. This paradigm recognizes Nature as an entity with the right to exist and thrive in good health, underlining the imperative of preserving our planet and living in harmony with it.

María Mercedes Sánchez, the coordinator of the Harmony with Nature program at the United Nations and a participant in the “Voices of the Rivers” event, also highlighted the importance of this concept, which is shared by numerous indigenous communities around the world. According to this perspective, nature possesses inherent rights, and these laws of Nature should guide the organization of human societies to achieve a balance between the needs of all, including those of Nature.

Interagir autrement avec le Saint-Laurent

Yenny Vega Cardenas and Daniel Turp 

Le Devoir, 22.08. 2022

The International Observatory for Nature’s Rights and the Saint Lawrence Alliance advocate for the recognition of rights and legal personhood for the Saint Lawrence River. This proposal aims to protect and preserve the river and its ecosystems. It suggests that such recognition could encourage responsible behavior from various stakeholders, including farmers and businesses, which have an impact on the river and its biodiversity. As Yenny Vegas Cardenas, President of the Observatory for Nature’s Rights, emphasizes, “if these bills are adopted, the river and its ecosystems will have the right to exist, be protected, restored, and preserved.”

The creation of a guardianship committee is also recommended to monitor the application of existing policies and laws while strengthening the capacities of local communities, both indigenous and non-indigenous, for the preservation of the Saint Lawrence River. Two bills have been presented in this regard, one by Émilise Lessard-Therrien of Québec Solidaire and the other by Alexandre Boulerice of the New Democratic Party (NDP), aiming to grant legal rights and legal personality to the Saint Lawrence River and its ecosystems.

Donnons au Saint-Laurent le droit de se défendre.
Alexandre Boulerice

Le Devoir, 25 juin 2022

New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament, Alexandre Boulerice, in partnership with the Observatory for the Rights of Nature, introduced a bill in May 2022 before the House of Commons to recognize the legal personality of the Saint Lawrence River and its ecosystem. This bill also emphasizes the crucial role of Indigenous communities in acting as “guardians” of the River.

The Saint Lawrence River’s ecosystem is under threat from various projects, and existing laws are inadequate to ensure its protection. This bill calls for a paradigm shift in our approach to interacting with this ecosystem. As the Member of Parliament points out, the anthropocentric and utilitarian view that considers the river merely as a resource to serve human needs must change to address the real challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss. He advocates for a return to a balance between human needs and those of the River to ensure its continued health and vitality.

Des Innus et une avocate colombienne à la défense des droits

du fleuve.

Paloma Martínez Méndez

Radio Canada International.


Yenny Vega Cardenas, a lawyer and president of the Observatory of Nature’s Rights, advocates for the recognition of legal personality for the Saint Lawrence River in collaboration with Innu communities. The goal is to have the river recognized as a living entity with its own rights. It is a significant challenge to bring all stakeholders together to accomplish this project given the vastness of the Saint-Laurent River. So far, 15 municipalities in Quebec support this initiative, along with approximately 7 environmental NGOs and the five Innu communities of the Mamuitun Tribal Council.

Uapukun Mestoksho and the Innus of Ekuanitshit Council successfully achieved legal status recognition for the Muteshekau River (Magpie) in 2021 and aim to provide the same protection to the Saint Lawrence River. Uapukun Mestoksho, a member of the Innu community in Ekuanitshit (Mingan), sees these efforts as a recognition of Indigenous knowledge that ensures the survival of all.

Two bills have been simultaneously introduced in the National Assembly and the House of Commons for the recognition of the river as a living entity endowed with rights.

Nature has also rights.

Yenny Vega Cardenas


La Presse

More than 2,000 people are expected to attend the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity (COP15) scheduled to take place in Montreal from December 7 to December 19, 2022. The objective of this event is to bring about a radical change in our approach to better protect the environment by setting ambitious targets for the year 2030.

At the core of this conference lies the vision of the Rights of Nature, which is considered complementary to human rights. The inclusion of Nature’s rights is a central issue for environmental protection, whether viewed from an indigenous or non-indigenous perspective.

Les droits de la Nature, une réponse à la crise climatique et écologique.

Yenny Vega Cardenas and Inès Benadda

Le Devoir,


The International Observatory for the Rights of Nature advocates for a dialogue to address the ecological and climate crisis as an interrelated problem, and the legal recognition of the rights of nature is a tool for tackling these issues. This legal approach already exists in other legal systems around the world. The recognition of the rights of Nature enables us to rethink and solidify our identity-based links with ecosystems. These steps are also part of a project, in collaboration with the St. Lawrence Alliance, to have the legal personality of the Saint Laurence River recognized.

2022 Série Cap sur le fleuve: Reconstruire doucement l’imaginaire collectif Saint-Laurent?

Author: Maxim Bonin

Date: 6 août 2022
Source: Cap sur le fleuve. Le Devoir.

The St. Lawrence River, once a route of exploration and an engine of economic development for Quebec’s cities, is central to Quebec’s identity. However, it seems to have lost some of its prestige in the collective imagination due to inaccessibility, pollution and unbridled urban development along its banks.

Maxim Bonin, founding member of the Le Comité cooperative, encourages the reappropriation of the banks of the St. Lawrence and the multiplication of initiatives aimed at making these spaces accessible to the population. He cites the example of the Société des gens de baignade, a citizens’ group that successfully mobilized to obtain access to swimming in the Port of Quebec. He calls for shoreline residents’ demands to be listened to, and for shorelines to be developed for recreational, sporting and educational activities, thus strengthening the link between human beings and water. Mr. Bonin advocates a collaborative approach to planning shoreline development projects, involving various community players, including citizens, non-profit organizations, local authorities and other sectors.

2022: Série Cap sur le fleuve | En cage, le fleuve

Author Catherine-Alexandre Briand

Date : August 27th 2022

Source: Série Cap sur le Fleuve. Le Devoir

Catherine-Alexandre Briand recounts how the insularity of the Quebec metropolis is often overlooked due to the lack of access Montrealers have to the river, with too many fences and obstructions impeding access.  The author asks questions about the relationship between Montrealers and the river, highlighting the apparent contradiction of the metropolis’ coexistence with such an imposing waterway by comparing how other cities had preserved access and thus proximity to the water in their planning.

Ms. Briand suggests that recognizing the river’s rights and considering it as a living entity could be an important step in changing our relationship with it.  Inspired by native traditions, this relationship should be based on reciprocity. She encourages the idea of visiting the river more frequently, placing it at the center of the community and valuing its ecosystem because, ultimately, we protect what we know and love.

2022 Série Cap sur le fleuve: Le Saint-Laurent, notre fierté ou notre égout?

Authors: Sébastien Sauvé et Patrice Couture

Date: July 22nd 2022

Source: Série Cap sur le Fleuve. Le Devoir

Authors Sébastien Sauvé and Patrice Couture examine the health of the river.  Despite its vast expanse, a major giant that rises in the Great Lakes and drains an enormous quantity of freshwater to the Atlantic Ocean, the River is constantly subjected to microaggressions from chemical contaminants discharged by human activity: the introduction of invasive species, contaminants from agriculture, and inadequate wastewater treatment.  

 The authors demonstrate that, despite improvements in water quality since the 1970s, these efforts are insufficient if we are serious about keeping this Quebec jewel healthy.  Preserving the St. Lawrence River requires strict protection standards, based on precautionary principles, and a collective conscience to ensure its health and that of its ecosystems for future generations. The recognition of the legal personality of the river is also suggested as a way of strengthening its protection.

2022 Série Cap sur le fleuve: À qui appartient le paysage du fleuve Saint-Laurent?

Author: Nathalie Gravel

Date: July 23 2022
Source: Cap sur le fleuve. Le Devoir.

Nathalie Gravel argues in favor of recognizing the legal personality of the St. Lawrence River, which would make it possible to integrate an ecological perspective into Quebec law and better preserve this living ecosystem threatened by industrial developments that not only contaminate, but also destroy landscapes and riverbanks that belong to all of us.  In a poetic tone, Ms Gravel presents the river as more than just a waterway, but as a rich, living ecosystem, as well as its role as a place of rest, recreation and historical connection for the inhabitants of the riverside regions. The beauty of its landscape is in need of recognition. 

From this perspective, recognition of the river as a legal entity, as the International Observatory for the Rights of Nature has done by introducing a bill, would make it possible to protect this living ecosystem as more than just a waterway, but as an ecosystem entitled to protection to maintain the integrity of the beauty of its banks and landscapes.

2022: Série Cap surle fleuve | Les gardiens du fleuve

Author: Billie Jazz Marcuzzo-Roy

Date : July 30 2022
Source: Série Cap sur le Fleuve. Le Devoir

Billie Jazz Marcuzzo-Roy offers us a personal and touching account of her emotional journey and commitment to preserving the St. Lawrence River.  Driven by the desire to protect this magnificent ecosystem, the author shares her journey, which led her to study and undertake research into ecotoxicity, a threat to the river’s biodiversity. 

Ms. Marcuzzo-Roy is actively involved as an eco-education project manager with Le Semoir, teaching young Quebecers about the importance of protecting the St. Lawrence River. She creates workshops and a documentary entitled “Des rives. Regard sur le fleuve” to raise public awareness of the need to preserve this ecosystem. She is determined to break down ignorance and train the river’s guardians for the future. She stresses the importance of changing our relationship with nature and making the heartfelt cry of this majestic river heard, as the cradle of future generations.

Alliance Saint-Laurent: un appel aux municipalités québécoises

Authors : Kayley Laura Lata, Alexandra Baer & Yenny Vega Cardenas

Date: January 15 2022

Source: La Presse

The St. Lawrence Alliance, in partnership with the International Observatory for the Rights of Nature, is promoting recognition of the legal personality of the St. Lawrence River, which would enable legal action to be taken to protect its rights, including the right to restoration and preservation.  

Municipalities would be the big winners in this approach, since they are responsible for water purification, which could make it easier for them to apply for government subsidies to better treat their wastewater. The support of Quebec municipalities is essential for this project aimed at better environmental protection. On December 6, 2022, the municipality of Sorel adopted a resolution in support of the Alliance Saint-Laurent initiative, followed by the municipality of Ste-Catherine and the Mamuitun Tribal Council, which brings together five Innu First Nations.  

Un statut juridique pour le Fleuve Saint-Laurent: Alexandre Boulerice, Entrevue

Date: April 22nd, 2022
Source: Tout un matin, Radio Canada

As part of Earth Day celebrations, neo-Democrat MP Alexandre Boulerice presented a resolution to the UN General Assembly calling for recognition of the legal personality of the St. Lawrence River. This initiative, in collaboration with the Observatoire international des doits de la Nature, is a new approach to environmental protection. This approach would enable us to think about economic development in terms of ecological justice.  

Le Saint-Laurent à l’ONU
Auteur : Joel-Denis Bellavance

Date : April 22nd, 2022
Source : La Presse

Alexandre Boulerice, deputy leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), will be in New York to plead for legal status for the St. Lawrence River at the UN General Assembly. He will be accompanied by the President of the International Observatory for the Rights of Nature, Yenny Vega Cárdenas. Boulerice and Cárdenas are taking this step in the context of the climate crisis and the need for global mobilization to combat global warming. Boulerice and Cárdenas have been campaigning for several months to give legal recognition to the St. Lawrence River and its watershed, inspired by the example of the Magpie River in Canada. They also plan to table a bill in the House of Commons to give the St. Lawrence River legal personality. This initiative would enable the river to assert its rights and interests, notably in the assessment of economic and infrastructure projects. The aim is to recognize that Nature has rights that must be protected and respected, marking a paradigm shift in our relationship with the environment. Boulerice stresses the importance of granting rights to Nature, on a par with the fundamental rights of human beings, to meet the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Voir les enjeux environnementaux comme des occasions

Authors : Louis-Gabriel Pouliot, Yenny Vega Cárdenas & Inès Benadda

Date: April 22nd, 2022

Source : La Presse

Recognition of the legal personality of the St. Lawrence River could provide opportunities for the agricultural sector. This recognition would add environmental value to agricultural products produced under a controlled appellation, rooting the products in the territory and preserving their distinct character. This could become a competitive advantage, facilitating the marketing of products from the St. Lawrence watershed. Protecting the river’s rights would contribute directly to the objectives of optimizing water management and enhancing biodiversity. The agricultural sector should be involved in discussions on recognizing the legal personality of the St. Lawrence River, alongside other stakeholders, to create a new social pact for the river. 

St. Lawrence River's rights should be recognized

Elara Neath Thomin

The Montreal Gazette

On May 5th 2022, two bills were presented in the House of Commons and the National Assembly aiming to recognize the St. Lawrence River’s rights and establish it as a legal person. If passed, these bills would appoint guardians to protect the river’s rights, safeguarding it from exploitation. Granting a legal personality to the St-Laurence River like humans being or corporations would allow initiating judicial proceedings if necessry to ensure its protection.  This move represents a significant advancement in the rights of nature movement in North America. The bills are a collaborative effort involving the Observatoire international des droits de la Nature and its partners of the St. Lawrence River Alliance, as well as other environmental organizations, municipalities. This approach to th draws on Indigenous traditional knowledge, reflecting the need to decolonize our relationship with water.

Legal status for the St. Lawrence River: NDP Deputy Leader Alexandre Boulerice and IORN President Yenny Vega Cardenas were in New York for the recognition of the rights of the St. Lawrence River.

Mickael Couillerot

Source : Néo media

Alexandre Boulerice, NDP Deputy Leader and Deputy Environment Critic, and Yenny Vegas Cardenas, President of the International Observatory for the Rights of Nature, delivered a speech at the United Nations in New York in support of granting legal status to the St. Lawrence River and its watershed. The statement was made during the commemoration of Mother Earth Day at the UN.

"Lo que falta para garantizar la verdadera protección de la naturaleza en Colombia"

La sociedad, por ejemplo, debe dejar de verse como víctima y comenzar a reconocerse como un guardián de la naturaleza capaz de ver el verdadero daño de sus acciones.

April 30, 2018

Redonner sa Place au Fleuve Saint-Laurent

On ne doit plus tolérer la construction de résidences de plus en plus près des zones inondables.

June 11, 2019

Faire du fleuve Saint-Laurent un sujet de droit

“l’article 8 de la loi introduit le concept de responsabilité sans faute lorsque des dommages sont causés aux ressources en eau”.

 May 04, 2018