By René Orellana Halkyer and Diego Pacheco Balanza
In September 2012 the Legislative Assembly of the Plurinational State of Bolivia approved the Framework Law of Mother Earth and Integral Development for Living Well and was promulgated on recent October 15, after several years of debate in the Legislative Organ and between social organizations regarding its content.
A first complete version of the Law with the name of "Framework Law of Mother Earth" was agreed in 2010 by social organizations. At the end of that year a part of the Bill with the title was approved in the Plurinational Legislative Assembly. of the Law of Rights of Mother Earth No. 071, leaving the second part of the bill subject to debate at a later period.
The Law of Mother Earth and Integral Development to Live Well was approved as a framework law, consequently constituting the matrix provision that will give birth to the special legal norms to be worked on in the coming years. Articulation of Living well, integral development and the rights of Mother Earth
The Law defines Vivir Bien as the civilizing and cultural horizon alternative to capitalism, which means the construction of a new environmental, social, cultural and economic order based on and emerging from the historical vision of indigenous peoples. Textually, this Law expresses that this civilizational horizon "is born in the worldviews of the nations and indigenous peoples, native farmers and the intercultural and Afro-Bolivian communities" (Art. 5, numeral 2). However, as this life project has its foundation in indigenous and native peoples, it is enriched and developed within the framework of interculturality and dialogue of knowledge, so it must be built in complementarity with all peoples and societies that they live in the country. This vision is important because it promotes the construction of an intercultural society respecting differences and strengthening indigenous peoples and nations within the framework of solidarity and their interdependence with the Bolivian people as a whole in terms of the realization of collective rights. and the eradication of poverty.
Comprehensive development is the implementation of comprehensive measures and actions (economic, social, spiritual, environmental, cultural, material, among others) for the strengthening and creation of material and spiritual conditions that facilitate and strengthen the living well of peoples and communities. societies. So it is not a development synonymous with progress or western style. On the contrary, it is established that these measures and actions must be culturally appropriate to the reality of the peoples, corresponding to their cultures and building edifying links, that is, actions and constructive attitudes that lay the foundations for an equitable, just and supportive society. .
Mother Earth is the dynamic living system made up of the indivisible community of all life systems and living beings, interrelated, interdependent and complementary, sharing a common destiny. Mother Earth is considered sacred; it feeds and is the home that contains, sustains and reproduces all living beings, ecosystems, biodiversity, organic societies and the individuals that compose it. In this context, the rights of Mother Earth are recognized. Then, the Framework Law articulates three fundamental aspects: Living Well, Mother Earth and integral development; Therefore, the Law makes the decision not to separate "integral development", which adapts it to the Bolivian reality, with that of Vivir Bien, promoting rather that integral development is an intermediate phase to achieve Vivir Bien. . For this reason, integral development and Living Well are not considered two parallel paths but part of the same path, where the actions of the first help to achieve the second, which is the ultimate goal. However, it is around Mother Earth that this articulation process is promoted, since she articulates nature and human beings.
Complementarity of rights as the basis for harmonious coexistence between the Bolivian people, the native and peasant indigenous nations and peoples, and Mother Earth
In the Framework Law, respect and recognition of the rights of native indigenous peasant peoples is considered fundamental, but it is also recognized that the whole of the Bolivian people must also enjoy the benefits of the wealth that Mother Earth provides, the same as Within the framework of a sustainable and harmonious use, they must be distributed and redistributed by the Plurinational State, also considering the construction of a just, equitable and solidary society without material, social and spiritual poverty.
Bolivia has about 12 million inhabitants, of which more than 5 live in poverty and where a large part of this population is found in urban areas. The solution to the lack of access to services, health, education, energy, communication, as well as access to food, to the means that allow improving the opportunities for creating material conditions and strengthening spiritual conditions for Living Well, requires a governmental and social effort for the development of actions and investments that imply the access and availability of financial resources by the State.
So, in Bolivia, it is not possible to eradicate poverty or guarantee the fundamental rights (civil, political, social, economic and cultural) of the people if there is not a strong Plurinational State with the capacities to undertake this challenge; at least in a scenario where our country is sovereign and not dependent. The law itself expresses in its article 11, numeral 1, that it is the obligation of the Plurinational State to create the conditions to guarantee its own support.
In this line of reflection, the Law has established that Living Well is achieved by promoting and strengthening four rights:
- The rights of Mother Earth.
- The rights of native and peasant indigenous nations and peoples, intercultural and Afro-Bolivian communities.
- The civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of the Bolivian people, satisfying the needs of societies and individuals.
The right of the urban and rural population to live in a just, equitable and supportive society, without material, social and spiritual poverty.
These rights cannot be superimposed on one another or prioritized one over another, on the contrary, they must be carried out in a complementary, compatible, solidary and interdependent manner. This is the maximum balance proposed by the Law for the construction of Living Well. Objectives, bases and guidelines of Living Well through integral development
Since integral development is an intermediate phase towards Living Well, the Law has established 10 (ten) objectives and 11 (eleven) bases and guidelines for integral development, within the framework of the Values of Living Well: knowing how to grow, knowing Feeding, knowing how to dance, knowing how to work, knowing how to communicate, knowing how to dream, knowing how to listen, and knowing how to think.
Among some of the objectives we have the one related to "knowing how to eat to Live Well" which is the realization of the right to food within the framework of sovereignty with food security, which establishes the importance of strengthening economic and productive systems. and local ecological systems, as well as the strengthening and revaluation of the life systems of small producers, native and peasant indigenous nations and peoples, intercultural and Afro-Bolivian communities. Another objective promotes the change of unsustainable consumption patterns, the rational use of energy, the conservation of water, the elimination of consumerism, and the sustainable use of the components of Mother Earth. There is also the objective of changing polluting production patterns, strengthening production systems compatible with life zones and systems and greater environmental quality. The objective that promotes the conservation and integral and sustainable management of Mother Earth also establishes the strengthening of protected areas.
The guidelines of the Law are also very important. For example, with respect to agriculture, it is notable that the development of actions to protect the genetic heritage is established “… prohibiting the introduction, production, use, release into the environment and commercialization of genetically modified seeds in the territory of the Plurinational State of Bolivia of the that Bolivia is a center of origin or diversity and of those that attempt against genetic heritage, biodiversity ... life systems and human health. " Likewise, it is established that actions must be developed "... that promote the gradual elimination of crops of genetically modified organisms authorized in the country ...". (Art 24, numeral 7 and 8) With respect to forests, it is established that it is “absolutely prohibited the conversion of forest land use to other uses in life zones of forestry aptitude, except when it is of national interest and public utility ”(art. 25, numeral 4). This last provision requires the issuance of a special Law for each case related to the change of land use with a justification of said national interest and public utility.
Plurinational Council for Living Well and the Plurinational Authority of Mother Earth
In relation to the institutional framework created by the Law in charge of operationalizing and providing sustainability to the public management of integral development, it is important to highlight: i) the creation of a Plurinational Council to Live Well in Harmony and Balance with Mother Earth, which is constituted in a body for monitoring, consultation and participatory development of policies, plans, programs and projects; ii) the creation of the Plurinational Authority of Mother Earth, as a strategic and autarkic entity, which has competences in planning, management, monitoring and evaluation on climate change, in addition to administering and executing policies and strategies, plans and programs related to climate change. same; and iii) Mechanisms dependent on this Plurinational Authority to develop interventions in mitigation and adaptation to climate change, including the Plurinational Fund of Mother Earth as a financial mechanism that has the function of managing, channeling and allocating financial resources in coordination with the Central Bank. from Bolivia.
Mechanisms of mitigation and adaptation to climate change
The law establishes the creation of three Mechanisms for the management of climate adaptation and mitigation, according to the following detail:
Joint Mitigation and Adaptation Mechanism for the Comprehensive Management of Forests and Mother Earth. Its objective is to strengthen, conserve and protect life systems and their environmental functions by promoting and strengthening the integral and sustainable social and community management of forests within the framework of joint mitigation and adaptation goals of forests. It is a mechanism not based on carbon markets, and it constitutes precisely the alternative instrument to carbon markets in the context of REDD + that Bolivia proposed at COP 17 in South Africa at the United Nations World Conference on Climate Change, achieving .
Mitigation Mechanism for Living Well. It is aimed at strengthening and promoting climate mitigation actions, including reductions, limitations and actions that avoid greenhouse gas emissions in different industrial, productive and energy activities, among others. Mechanism of Adaptation to Live Well. It is aimed at managing the processes of adaptation to climate change in the framework of projects.
As has been highlighted, the Law articulates Living Well, integral development and the rights of Mother Earth, defining guidelines for public management.
This Law constitutes a large-scale norm that will generate fundamental changes in the country, where a fundamental aspect is the establishment of four compatible rights that allow creating the scenario to achieve Living Well through integral development. The complementarity and interdependence of these rights are the basis of the harmonious coexistence between the Bolivian people, the indigenous, native and peasant peoples and nations with nature. Likewise, the Law establishes the political, technical and legal guidelines to guarantee the sustainability of the regeneration capacities of Mother Earth within the framework of integral development.
This Law establishes the philosophical but also practical guidelines for the construction of the Plurinational State of Bolivia within the framework of the implementation of the mandates of the Political Constitution of the State. Likewise, it is important to highlight the role and the legal, political and ideological foundations that indigenous and native peoples and nations have endowed with this norm.