On 10 July, the Cundinamarca Administrative Court evidenced the breach of a series of climate obligations contained in national legislation and ordered the Colombian government[i] to adopt measures to comply with its commitments in relation to the impacts on the climate generated by the mining-energy sector.
The sentence was a response —in the first instance— to the litigation put forward by a group of Colombian organisations[ii] on 4 May with the aim to pressure the government to incorporate the impacts of the entire coal production chain into public climate policy and to adopt concrete measures to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.
As the largest coal exporter in Latin America, Colombia has the obligation to incorporate the real dimension of the impacts of this sector into its climate commitments. However, in the past six years, several government administrations have waived that commitment.
The ruling becomes one of the first milestones in Colombia to question the government’s role in the current global climate crisis. This litigation constitutes as well one of the first ones in the region to address the historical failure of a State in managing its commitments in the global fight against the climate crisis.
The case will pass now to the Council of State (Consejo de Estado) and if the high court ratifies the ruling of the Administrative Court of Cundinamarca, the Colombian government must comply with the eight orders[iii] within a period of six months, which implies the reformulation of central points of the environmental management and climate change instruments in Colombia.
Read the statement in Spanish here
[i] Specifically, the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.
[ii] (ENG) The Interamerican Association for the Defence of the Environment (AIDA), Collective of Lawyers “Jose Alvear Restrepo” (CAJAR), Censat Agua Viva, Center for Research and Popular Education (CINEP), POLEN Fair Transactions, Magdalena University, and researcher Paola Yanguas
(ESP) La Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente (AIDA), el Colectivo de Abogados “José Alvear Restrepo” (CAJAR), Censat Agua Viva, el de Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular (CINEP), POLEN Transiciones Justas, la Universidad de Magdalena y la investigadora Paola Yanguas
[iii] The eight orders include: Update the environmental impact studies of mining in Colombia to include climate impacts and include regulations to make it mandatory for companies—especially those in the coal sector—to establish mandatory registries of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. https://aida-americas.org/es/prensa/tribunal-ordena-al-gobierno-colombiano-adoptar-medidas-concretas-para-cumplir-los-compromisos-climaticos#:~:text=En%20total%2C%20la,efecto%20invernadero%20(GEI).