The Ecuadorian Constitution of 2008 introduced a new environmental regime. Art. 66 states: “The following rights of persons are recognised and guaranteed: The right to live in a healthy environment that is ecologically balanced, pollution-free and in harmony with nature.” Under the new regime, other noteworthy changes were made:
- Nature is considered a juridical person and now a holder of rights
- The rights of nature are inalienable and not subject to a statute of limitations
- The State shall apply preventive and restrictive measures on activities
- All citizens can call upon public authorities to enforce the rights of nature
- Individuals and communities that depend on affected natural systems have the right to be compensated.
According to its Article 425, the Constitution has supremacy over all other laws, norms and regulations, both national and international.
Article 74 of the Constitution regulates environmental services to ensure that people, communities and indigenous groups have the right to benefit from the environment. It also states that “environmental services are not susceptible to appropriation; that their production, provision and use will be regulated by the National Government.” The Constitution guarantees the participation of indigenous peoples and communities in decision-making on activities to be carried out in their territories.