Italian parliament voted to include the protection of animals and the environment in the nation’s constitution. Article 9 & 41 have been amended.
Earlier, Article 9 of Constitution protected the “natural landscape and the historical and artistic heritage of the Nation.” Now, the Article mandates to protect the environment, biodiversity, ecosystems, and animals “in the interest of future generations.”
Earlier, Article 41 stated that economic enterprise could “not be carried out against the common good or in such a manner that could damage safety, liberty and human dignity” It now requires that economic activities not “cause damage to health, to the environment.”
Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani termed the change “an essential step” for Italy as it acts to raise green investments to transform the economy under the European Union’s post-coronavirus pandemic recovery fund.
Concerns have been raised whether the principle will be implemented in practical sense. Italy’s constitution sets out broad principles but these are not always reflected in legislation and day-to-day policy. For instance article 11 of the constitution states that Italy “rejects war…as a means of resolving international controversies”, but this has not prevented Rome participating, directly or indirectly, in a number of armed conflicts.
Italy is not the only State to do so. In 1994, Argentina amended its charter to set minimum standards of environmental protection.
Many American states have taken such steps. For instance, The Alaska State Constitution declares that “The legislature shall provide for the utilization, development, and conservation of all natural resources belonging to the State, including land and waters, for the maximum benefit of its people.”