Biodiversity and Environmental sustainability: Italy is amending the Constitution.

The definition of Environmental Law has, overtime, undergone a major changing process due to the word « environment » being increasingly protected from an administrative and regulatory point of view, and equally from an institutional one. This evolution process has been acknowledged and embraced not only at the Italian national level, but at the European level as well. Most of the Italian Environmental Law has been enshrined in an Environmental Code which aims at meeting the threshold imposed by the European Directives concerning the environment and the biodiversity.

On Wednesday June 23rd, the Italian Senate passed the drafting of a law which would amend the Italian Constitution with regards to the biodiversity and environmental sustainability issues.

This proposal had been made by different political parties – which are referred to be liberal – last March. However, due to the legal terminology that had been used, the right extremist political party Lega, impeded its passing. They proposed 250 thousands amendments to the initial text. These modifications had been drafted by the political party in order to safeguard what is defined as hunting. Another major point with which the Lega party had disagreed was the limitations that these amendments would have imposed on the different regions when exercising their competence on these exclusive subjects. Despite their significant efforts in obstructing this amendment, the Senate passed the drafting of the law. The next two steps in this regard will be another approval by the Chamber and by the Senate as well.

The drafting of the amendment to the Constitution reformulates in a wider legal terminology the Articles 9, 41 and 117 of the Italian Constitution. In Article 9, the Constitution aims at « promoting the cultural development, the scientific and technical research » . In this regard, the amendment would add to the Article the « protection of the environment, the biodiversity and the ecosystems, with the ultimate aim of protecting the future of the younger generations ». Both in Articles 41 and 117, the amendments will instead just amount to the inclusions of the words « ecosystem » and « of the animals ». 

Thanks to these new amendments made in the Constitution, the protection to the environment can now be regarded as a more extensive and comprehensive obligation. This not only helps Italy arrive at the threshold imposed by the EU, but it also ensures a fair treatment of the environment as an inclusive legal term. Whether the Lega party will try to obstruct their way through the Chamber and the Senate again is a matter to be discussed in the future.

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