Tag Archives: constitution

Suma qamaña in Bolivia Indigenous Understandings of Well-being and Their Contribution to a Post-Neoliberal Paradigm (K. Artaraz and M. Calestani)

Author(s)

Kepa Artaraz and Melania Calestani

Keywords

well-being, policy, constitution, Bolivia, sustainability, Law of Mother Earth, National Development Plan, indigenous rights, legislation

Abstract

English:

In recent decades there has been increasing interest in academic, governmental, and nongovernmental circles worldwide in developing universal definitions of well-being. Governments have progressively shifted their policies on this concept and are currently engaged in improving the well-being of their populations. Bolivia’s concept of suma qamaña (living well together) is broader than “well-being,” emphasizing the importance of harmonious relations between nature and human beings and providing an important link to sustainability that current conceptions of well-being fail to make. Exploring the concept is highly relevant at this historical moment because the Morales government is engaged in a wide-ranging process of social transformation to implement it. Its translation into public policy and the adoption of a development model consistent with it have proved problematic. While the introduction of the concept into the National Development Plan, the new constitution, and the Law of Mother Earth has addressed the need to move from individualized understandings of well-being to collective ones, the government has not overcome the conflict between growth-driven approaches and sustainability that is inherent in all its legislation. Moreover, understandings of the concept are constantly being negotiated and transformed, calling for an understanding of it that is rooted in people’s practices and beliefs rather than in theoretical constructions.

Spanish:

En las últimas décadas ha habido un creciente interés en los círculos académicos, gubernamentales y no gubernamentales de todo el mundo en el desarrollo de las definiciones universales de bienestar. Los gobiernos han cambiado progresivamente sus políticas en este concepto y se dedican actualmente a la mejora del bienestar de sus poblaciones. Concepto de suma qamaña (vivir bien) de Bolivia es más amplio que el “bienestar,” enfatizando la importancia de las relaciones armoniosas entre la naturaleza y los seres humanos y proporcionando un vínculo importante con la sostenibilidad que las concepciones actuales de bienestar no pueden hacer. Explorar el concepto es muy relevante en este momento histórico, porque el gobierno de Morales está involucrado en un amplio proceso de transformación social para implementarla. Su traslación en las políticas públicas y la adopción de un modelo de desarrollo coherente con ella han demostrado ser problemático. Si bien la introducción de este concepto en el Plan Nacional de Desarrollo, la nueva Constitución, y la Ley de la Madre Tierra ha abordado la necesidad de pasar de entendimientos individuales de bienestar a los colectivos, el gobierno no ha superado el conflicto entre los enfoques impulsados por crecimiento y la sostenibilidad que es inherente a toda su legislación. Por otra parte, las comprensiones del concepto están siendo constantemente negociados y transformados, reclamando una comprensión que está enraizada en las prácticas y creencias de las personas y no en las construcciones teóricas.

Citation

(2015) Latin American Perspectives 42 (5) 216-233

Paper

Suma qamaña in Bolivia Indigenous Understandings of Well-being and Their Contribution to a Post-Neoliberal Paradigm

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Phiri, the plight of the poor and the perils of climate change: time to rethink environmental and socio-economic rights in South Africa? (L.J. Kotzé)

Author

Louis J Kotzé

Keywords

Water resources, access to water, climate change, poverty, sustainability, constitution, socio-economic rights, environmental rights

Abstract

South Africa is a water-stressed country where scarce water resources are unequally available to South Africans. It seems inevitable that climate change will in future severely affect the availability of water resources and the ecological and socio-economic aspects of water uses in the country. It is especially the poor, indigent and marginalized sectors of the population that have inadequate access to water and it is these people who would also be most severely affected by the impact of climate change on water resources. While South African constitutional and statutory provisions guarantee everyone access to sufficient water, an environmental right and other laws simultaneously aim to protect water resources. There is accordingly a very real possibility for sustainability conflicts to arise where difficult decisions have to be made with respect to providing people access to sufficient water on the one hand and protecting water resources for the benefit of present and future generations on the other. The latter conflict was recently illustrated in the Constitutional Court judgment of Mazibuko v City of Johannesburg 2009 JDR 1030 (CC) . For the first time, South Africa’s highest Court was required to provide content to the constitutionally entrenched right of access to sufficient water. Against a general discussion of the state of water resources in South Africa, the predicted impact of climate change on these resources and the prevailing socio-economic conditions in the country, this article analyses the Court’s decision in Mazibuko and argues that its restrictive interpretation of the right to access to water could be considered ecologically responsible and conducive to achieving inter-generational equity.

Citation

(2010) 1 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 135

Paper

Phiri, the plight of the poor and the perils of climate change: time to rethink environmental and socio-economic rights in South Africa ?

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