Individuals in Bolivia have not brought cases against the State for its overall climate policy yet.
Such cases could be filed on human-rights arguments through article 33 of the Constitution of the Plurinational State of Bolivia (Bolivian Constitution) which recognizes the right to a healthy, protected, and balanced environment. In this regard, a broad approach to standing in environmental issues is recognized in the Bolivian Constitution: according to article 34 “[a]ny person…is authorized to take legal action in defence of environmental rights”. Thus, anyone in the country can file judicial, administrative or constitutional actions to protect the rights to the environment. To do so, the Bolivian Constitution includes a mechanism of ‘popular action’ (Acción Popular) for guaranteeing the protection and implementation of collective rights and interests, including environmental rights. The Acción Popular can be filed against any action or omission of public and private actors, as established by articles 135-136 of the Bolivian Constitution.
Cases can also be filed by individuals or groups on behalf of Mother Earth against any actor who offends Mother Earth’s rights, especially her right to adapt naturally to climate change (Law No.071 of the Rights of Mother Earth). The current legislation (Framework Law no. 300 of Mother Earth and Integral Development for Living Well) states that such cases should be brought only by individuals or groups directly affected by the violation of the rights of Mother Earth. However, this restricted standing approach is in conflict with the broader right of standing established in the Constitution with regard to the defence and enforcement of the environmental right and the rights of Mother Earth.
For more country specific context and relevant national climate change law see: https://climate-laws.org/cclow/geographies/21
This country report has been produced by Hayley-Bo Dorrian-Bak, C2LI Senior Research Assistant and Pau de Vilchez Moraga, C2LI Legal Analyst with the collaboration of Paola Villavicencio Calzadilla, C2LI National Raporteur for Bolivia. The summary is based on Paola Villavicencio Calzadilla, “Climate Change and the Individual Litigating Climate Change in Bolivian National Courts” in F. Sindico and M. Moise Mbengue, Comparative Climate Change Litigation: Beyond the Usual Suspects, Springer, 2021.