In 2022, the Office of the Inspector General of Colombia and the Office of the Inspector in Environmental Matters filed a joint lawsuit before the Administrative Tribunal of Cundinamarca seeking a declaration of non-compliance by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (the Ministry) and the President of their obligations under Law 1931 of 2018. The law, also referred to as the 2018 Climate Action Law, establishes guidelines for climate action in Colombia. The statute’s main goals are to put forth climate change adaptation measures, mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reduce the population and ecosystem’s vulnerabilities and promote a just transition towards decarbonization.
Plaintiffs claim that it has been four (4) years since the climate action law was issued and the government (represented by the Ministry and the President) has failed to comply with articles 15, 18, 19, 26, and 29. Claimants point out that article 35 of the same law gave the government three (3) years from the date of promulgation to implement all of its provisions.
Article 15 orders the Colombian government to establish a regulatory framework to define and determine actions related to short, medium and long-term nationally determined contributions in the context of the UNFCCC. Article 18 commands the Ministry to issue guidelines regarding the creation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of comprehensive climate change management plans at the regional level. Article 19 instructs the government to establish guidelines directed towards territorial entities and environmental authorities to incorporate climate change response and management in their environmental, land use and financial planning documents. Article 26 directs the Ministry to issue regulations regarding the National Information Service on Climate Change (created by the 2018 Climate Action Law) and to outline rules and procedures to apply it to other existing systems. Article 29 requires the Ministry to establish a number of annually negotiable GHG quotas and delineate the terms and conditions of the quotas.
The Tribunal found that the obligation under article 18 had been fulfilled by the Colombian government through Resolution No. 0849 of 2022. This resolution establishes guidelines to create and implement comprehensive climate change management plans at the regional level in accordance with the 2018 Climate Action Law.
However, the Tribunal declared that defendants had failed to fully comply with the obligations established by articles 15, 19, 26, and 29 of the 2018 Climate Action Law. Despite some initial efforts to engage in climate action-related activities, the Tribunal found that the Colombian government has to date failed: (i) to regulate goals related to nationally determined contributions; (ii) to issue a legal document to guide territorial entities and authorities in incorporating climate change in their regulatory and planning instruments; (iii) to regulate the National Information Service on Climate Change (although draft legislation is pending); and (iv) to establish GHG quotas (draft legislation is also pending). As a result, the Tribunal ordered the Ministry and the President to fully comply with the 2018 Climate Action Law's obligations and established a new deadline of six (6) months from the time the decision is final and enforceable.
The Office of the President has filed an appeal, which is currently pending a determination of admissibility.
|02/23/2023||Decision||Download||Decision by the Tribunal (in Spanish)|