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The Legal Nature of the Biodiversity Provisions adopted by the Andean Community

Jimena Murillo Chávarro and Frank Maes

elni Review 2010, Issue 2,  pp. 64-70.

The Andean Community is a South American Regional Organization, nowadays composed of four of the seventeen states richest in biodiversity in the world. The Andean states are home to around 24 % of global biodiversity. Four countries are members: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
The Andean Community began taking action in the field of biodiversity in the last ten years. As a result, it has elaborated a “Regional Biodiversity Strategy for the Tropical Andean Countries”, which was developed within the framework of the principles set out in the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (Agenda 21) and the Andean Community legislation. The main objective of the Regional Biodiversity Strategy is the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity as well as the region’s sustainable development. According to the legal system of this regional organisation, decisions are – irrespective of whether they are adopted by the Andean Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs or the Commission of the Andean Community (the two legislative institutions of the CAN) – part of the Andean legal system. Decisions are legally binding for the Member Countries and directly applicable from their day of publication in the official gazette onwards.
This article explains the definition of soft law, and provides a general description of the Andean Community and its legal instruments. The authors discuss the nature of Decision 523: Should this provision be considered soft or hard law and what are its legal implications?

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