EXAMPLES OF BEST PRACTICES: Children against excessive logging, The Philippines

To illustrate how public participation can improve environmental decision making, the CO-SEED team gathered case studies from around the world. The case study below is part of our on-going series sharing these examples:

Balanced and healthy ecology is a right for current and future generations.

The Supreme Court of the Philippines, in the Oposa case, confirmed the right of a group of children to bring an action on their own behalf, and on behalf of generations yet unborn, against excessive logging operations permitted by the Department of Environment.

The complaint was based on the right to "a balanced and healthy ecology" which is incorporated in the 1987 Constitution.

The Supreme Court ruled that applicants could, as individuals and on behalf of their generation and future generations, file a class suit. Their right to sue on behalf of future generations was based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility, insofar as the right to a balanced and healthy ecology was concerned. Such a right considered the 'rhythm and harmony of nature.' This includes, inter alia, the judicious disposition, utilization, management, renewal and conservation of the country’s forest, mineral, land, waters, fisheries, wildlife, offshore areas and other natural resources. Additionally, their exploration, development, and utilization must be equitably accessible to present and future generations.

The Court ruled to cancel all existing logging permits and to stop approving new logging permits which are not in harmony with general environmental rights.