Ecology and citizen participation

Ecology and citizen participation

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By Antonio Elio Brailovsky

An approach to the viability of applying participatory or semi-direct democracy mechanisms in environmental management, both at the national and local levels, and the way in which environmental policy can contribute to linking the environment with other areas of management.

1. Introduction: citizen participation to define a National Project

This work consists of an approach to the viability of applying participatory or semi-direct democracy mechanisms in environmental management, both at the national and local levels, and the way in which environmental policy can contribute to linking the environment with other management areas. It aims to analyze recent experience with citizen participation mechanisms and the way in which they could be applied in a much more general way than has been done so far.

The notion of democracy is in crisis. The mere formal act of voting for a government that may breach its electoral promises and act against the interests of those it represents is more than just a theoretical possibility today.

During most of the 19th and 20th centuries, the central axis of the political conflict developed between social actors that were members of different political parties or ideological groups. Many times, political violence had to do with the passions unleashed by different ways of seeing the country. The institutions that developed during that long period had to do precisely with that, with the trust and affinity that united leaders and followers around a shared political project.

In that context (and in that historical period), the predominant conception of representative institutions was that they were as close as possible to Abraham Lincoln's definition of democracy: "the government of the people, by the people and for the people ". And the situations of lack of legitimacy were due to non-compliance with the representativeness mechanisms, due to electoral fraud or coups d'état. In that historical stage, many people risked their lives so that their representatives could access the Government, an action unimaginable today. These people trusted the institutions and acted because they wanted those institutions to function as mandated by the National Constitution.

But currently, the discrediting of political activity and the people who carry it out forces us to rethink the institutional system. At present there is a strong conflict between representatives and represented, which has a much greater intensity than the conflict that pits parties and ideologies against each other.

Every year I ask my students of the Common Basic Cycle of the University of Buenos Aires (I have 5,000 students per year) for their opinion about our political system. As in any consultation of these, opinions are always varied, although with a high level of criticism. But last year, 5 thousand people, mostly young people, answered me, in a unanimous way, that our political system did not satisfy them or inspire confidence. A very high proportion said it in particularly harsh terms, without making distinctions between ideologies or political sectors.

The widespread use of the term "political class" is another symptom of this crisis of democracy. For many citizens, politicians constitute a social class with their own interests, which they defend in a corporate way, even against the interests of their own voters.

This set of feelings and opinions expresses a social conflict that must have its institutional correlate. The institutions of representative democracy cannot cope with these kinds of social needs. The conflict of interest between representatives and represented requires the opening of new forms of participatory democracy.

In this regard, it is worth insisting that citizen participation is not an ornament that depends on the good will of the official who summons to participate only in those cases in which he hopes to be praised. For participation to be real, it is necessary to create mandatory institutional mechanisms, regardless of the interest of officials in them.

The tools for citizen participation had a very wide expansion -especially in Third World countries- from the ECO'92 of Rio de Janeiro, in which a document called Agenda 21 was approved, which recommended its generalized application. In this way, the mechanisms of semi-direct democracy enter politics from environmental issues, although they are not restricted to them.

This is linked, in turn, with the necessary relationship that must exist between economy and ecology, and with the need for the economy to regain the role that it historically had. Since Adam Smith defined the general guidelines of economic science, at the end of the 18th century, there was consensus among economists that its function was to promote the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services [1]. And from the writings of John Maynard Keynes, made during the crisis of the 1930s, the increase in occupation was added as one of the central objectives of all economic policy [2]. A few years ago, no one would have imagined the lack of interest of those responsible for economic policy in recent decades in direct job creation.

Throughout the history of political economy, these variables (considered as real variables) were at the center of economists' concerns, and financial variables were considered only as adequate instruments for a better functioning of real variables.

However, at the end of the 20th century the idea prevailed in Argentina that economic policy would only deal with financial variables while the market (that is, a small group of large corporations) would deal with real variables. It is essential to remember that, although this conception was widely publicized throughout the world, the only country in which it was actually put into practice to its ultimate consequences is Argentina.

The results of economic policy abandoning the real sector of the economy to its fate and concentrating exclusively on financial aspects are in sight: from power, the country is thought of only as a borrower and payer of international loans, while it is produced the destruction of the Argentine productive system, and there is a risk that this destruction will also extend to its institutional system.

The loss of prestige of politics in our country does not originate only in the publicity of acts of corruption (which, on the other hand, have always been present in all political regimes in history) but in the acceptance by the political sector of a country model that left out most of the population.

Rethinking economics and economic policy require a complex process of integration between economics and ecology. Just as citizen participation cannot be an adornment of representative institutions, environmental policy cannot be detached from large public and private works, from the productive use of natural resources, from urbanization processes, etc.

In other words, that economic policy requires a development plan (which will not be done by the market but must be done by the State) and that it is necessary to integrate environmental policy into that development policy.

For the conceptions of the period before monetarism, it was enough that the Economy and Environment officials went to work together. At present, due to the crisis of democracy that we are mentioned, it is not enough with the horizontal collaboration between different ministries. It is also necessary to integrate citizen participation into a scheme that unites environmental policy with development strategies.

All this leads us to think differently about the complex relationships between society and the State. The function of participation is not only to control a government but also to establish networks of social solidarity that contribute to redefining the country's model.

A National Project like the one that needs to be developed cannot be the work of a group of enlightened technicians, nor can it be left to that small group of companies known today as "the markets." A National Project needs a social consensus-building process that goes far beyond everything that has been done to date.

At the same time, the implementation of similar mechanisms is required at the different levels of the State. Participation has national, provincial and municipal instances, adaptable to the type of decisions taken at the respective levels.

It would be a hypocritical act to build participation mechanisms around irrelevant decisions, while making the substantive decisions centrally. For example, in the City of Buenos Aires, a public hearing is called every time a street name is assigned or changed, but there is no way of consulting residents on priorities in public works. Moreover, most of the norms on citizen participation exclude it from any decision related to tax and budgetary aspects.

On the contrary, our point of view is that participation should be implemented in the most conflictive and difficult to resolve issues. Precisely because it is about incorporating the common citizen into the decision-making process in a way and with an intensity that has not happened until now.

That is why we are interested in talking about the existing tools to do so, and their scope and limitations.

2. Scope and levels of participation:

The first issue to raise (which seems obvious, but is not), refers to the reasons for participation. You always participate for something and for something. Participation proposed as an end in itself has been the cause of the failure of many initiatives, which covered up a political operation, rather than an objective of citizen participation.

The objectives can be:

1. Inform the representatives of the people before they make any decision (consultative participation).

2. To achieve the acceptance of the electorate of a norm in the process of being implemented for the sanction of a law or the establishment of a new policy (confirmatory participation).

3. Promote the treatment of the issue by some of the powers of the State (initiative participation).

4. Inform citizens to whom a new rule or specific policy will apply (confirmatory participation).

5. Participation in the management of public services provided by decentralized bodies of the Administration, such as management councils made up of users (participation in management).

6. Integrate collegiate or consultative bodies of the government, representing different sectors of society (participation in management).

7. Express social rejection of norms or measures proposed by the Administration or by the Legislative Power (reactive participation).

These objectives make participation a dynamic mechanism of the Public Administration, which allows knowing the real demands of the multiple sectors that make up society and formulating the necessary solutions at the appropriate time [3].

At the same time, participatory tools are a way of channeling differences that arise from social conflicts. It is about avoiding that conflicts are always resolved in favor of those who have more power and political or economic influence and that the needs of the majority are addressed. The academic bibliography on the subject tends to underestimate the last of the seven previous points, which is that of the expression of social conflict.

Participation is sometimes mentioned as a way of informing political decision-makers about the opinions of the population. However, the decision maker almost always knows who he is benefiting and who he is harming with his measures. Governments are not usually innocent in their way of proceeding. In other words, we are interested in having people participate to inform and be informed, but we are very interested in the participation of those most affected (or most affected) by the measures that are to be taken.

The importance of these participatory instruments cannot be underestimated. It is about finding ways to channel eventual dissent so that it does not lead to social conflicts that endanger governance.

Public participation mechanisms are also the necessary counterpart to the possibility of conducting "green business" at the local level,

from the completion of sanitation works, for example. Indeed, the economic benefits of sanitation activities and the consequent land appreciation will benefit a business sector (generally oriented towards real estate investments) that is the one that appears as the star in many programs of this nature. However, there can be no green businesses without a broad community consensus on how to carry out these activities and their eventual consequences (favorable or unfavorable) on the local environment.

Recent experience indicates that the social management of any type of project is at least as complex as its engineering aspects and that it deserves similar attention.

At the beginning of the current democratic stage in Argentina, public participation appeared as the transplant of a utopia. In various societies in the North, semi-direct forms of democracy had been applied and were yielding satisfactory results. It was enough to copy those recipes to perfect our social order. On this basis, a series of experiences were tried that did not always take into account what it meant to apply within a certain social context the institutions born in a very different context.

Consequently, the aim is to analyze the tools available in the field of participatory democracy and evaluate their viability in the case of environmental policy at the municipal level in order to consider their integration into projects (environmental, industrial, real estate, etc.) are going to perform.

Here a series of hypotheses will be raised, which are mostly the result of the author's experience in the participatory issue in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. Although the results cannot be extrapolated in a linear way to the entire country without carrying out a specific empirical study, it is possible to advance in the construction of hypotheses based on the response of the Buenos Aires social actors to similar problems. This is equivalent to assuming that the differences in the social and political culture of both social actors is scarce.

3. Social actors that neither deliberate nor govern:

The usefulness of these mechanisms of public participation has not yet been clearly accepted by most of the members of our political sectors and by those of the business sector. Ultimately, accepting participation means voluntarily giving power to others, which has little precedent in human history, almost all of it catastrophic.

It is enough to remember the convocation to the States General made by Louis XVI, who fired the French Revolution that ended up beheading him. Or the tragedy of King Lear, immortalized by Shakespeare, who gives power to his daughters so that they can transform him into a beggar. Consequently, one of the necessary approaches to the subject is the discussion on the incentives for the sectors of power to accept, wish or tolerate the implementation of participatory democracy mechanisms.

For this, it is necessary to point out that the tools of semi-direct democracy are a recent response to the crisis of the representative democracy system. They suppose the institutionalization of suitable mechanisms to resolve a wide range of social conflicts, among which the differences between those represented and their representatives have an enormous weight.

Indeed, the constitutional model of the 18th century, which our National Constitution still maintains in its essentials, supposes an identity of interests between representatives and represented. The categorical affirmation of our Magna Carta, that "the people do not deliberate or govern except through their representatives" [4], means the explicit prohibition of all forms of public participation. This is how it was understood during the 19th century, and this article was used as a basis for the police repression of the claims made by dissidents of different ideological colors. This, on the other hand, is consistent with the global conception on the relations between society and the State that the Constitution of 1853 flies over.

For example, commenting on the institution of the Electoral College and the consequent indirect election of the President of the Nation, José Manuel Estrada explained that he fulfilled a function of reinsurance of the institutional system because, in the event that the people made a mistake when electing the President, that error could be corrected in the Electoral College [5]. In this context, if we have the power to correct the mistakes that the people make, why do we want to hear what the people want to say?

It is significant that the last constitutional reform of 1994 has incorporated some tools of participatory democracy but has not eliminated the article that prohibits participation, which suggests what are the limits that the Constituent Power assigns to public participation.

For this reason, we disagree with the point of view of Vanossi, who maintains that the fact that the old National Constitution did not expressly contemplate participatory mechanisms (it explicitly refers to direct popular consultations), would not imply his condemnation. In other words, the silence of the rule should not be interpreted as an express prohibition. Vanossi assumes that the spirit of the Constitution only prohibits inorganic practices such as the riot and the pueblada, typical of that time, and not institutionalized forms of popular participation [6].

A Constitution is not only its text, but must also be interpreted in the historical context in which it was drafted, and in that it seems to us that it leaves no doubt the will of the Constituents of 1853 to develop an elitist model, which would leave out to as many people as possible. For something, for more than half a century after the sanction of that Constitution, elections were won by stealing the ballot boxes at gunpoint and filling them with their own ballots.

This conception has not been completely modified with the last reform, but rather a hybrid has been made, which contemplates new participatory mechanisms without replacing the previous blocks to participation.

And it is that, despite its latest reform, our constitutional text is inspired by the North American Constitution of the late 18th century. A constitutional model from two centuries ago seems inadequate to respond to the complex needs of today's society.

In the construction and implementation of a National Project it is necessary to create the conditions for the people to deliberate in a regular and systematic way, even if they do not govern. The participatory mechanisms are those that institutionalize the deliberation of the people.

Participatory openness has to do, in particular, with regard to the indication of policies on relevant issues. For example, when the National Constitution was issued, it was enough to indicate: "a Civil Code is enacted." It was not said "a liberal Civil Code be enacted", since no one would have imagined dictating a Code that was feudal or Marxist. But at the present time it seems necessary to give more precise indications about what the legislative interpretation of the constitutional text will be. One of the biggest criticisms that we can make of the latest reform of the National Constitution is that there some lobbies operated to minimize guaranteed rights, which is particularly clear in the case of environmental rights. The antecedent that concerned them was the Brazilian Constitution, which spelled out the rights of the population. When seeing them written, people demanded by those rights that promised to them, generating diverse social conflicts. Precisely to avoid or minimize such claims, the national constituents decided to grant our people the least amount of rights possible.

In the case of the City of Buenos Aires, however, the opposite point of view was raised. It was considered preferable to extend to the maximum the explicit rights and guarantees. Therefore, they are the foundation of the mechanisms that will allow its exercise at the local level.

The Constitution of the Province of Buenos Aires maintains the same criteria as the National Constitution. Its 1994 reform consisted of the mere addition of a few articles on an archaic conceptual structure, in which there is little room for participatory tools.

This experience suggests that the application of semi-direct democracy mechanisms in each particular case requires the clarification of a wide range of environmental and participatory rights that allow the population involved to trust that they will be respected, regardless of the political interest of the authority. of application. It is necessary to make this recognition explicit in the most meticulous way possible, to winnow public mistrust and express the authorities' commitment to a participatory environmental experience.

It is likely that enumerative criteria are required, which have traditionally been questioned as being of dubious legislative technique. However, the population needs to see their claims written in a precise and non-generic way, which should lead us to put the specific needs of the rule (and the relationship between those who dictate it and its users) before a legal theory. little useful for this case.

The main obstacle to achieving public participation is the general lack of trust in institutions and professional politicians. This leads us to a double game, which is the need to create instruments that generate trust, so that neighbors are willing to use participatory tools.

The risk is that such tools remain monopolized by political activists and their collateral non-governmental entities, and that they leave very little room for real action by the most independent citizens.

4. Establishment of the right to information:

Public participation is unthinkable without an adequate system that allows the accessibility of public information to all the social actors involved. It is clear that the principle of publicity of government acts is an indispensable part of any republican regime. However, the nature of such advertising is different depending on whether we accept the criteria of representative democracy or participatory democracy.

One of the derivations of the traditional criteria of representative democracy is that of the secrecy of certain acts of government. Indeed, the representative principles applied from the French and North American revolutions of the late eighteenth century assumed that the monarchical order emanated from God was replaced by a power emanated from the people, which found its legitimation in the act of suffrage itself. But once power was installed, its daily way of acting and its very nature could not be too different from those that characterized the powers of the Old Regime.

In fact, all our regulations on the development of the public function are taken from Napoleonic principles and have as fundamental pieces the discretion of the administrators and the secrecy of the acts that occur within the government.

Reciprocally, for representative democracy, publicity of the government's external actions (that is, those that go from the government to the community) is fundamental. One of its manifestations is the publication of the Official Gazettes, which record and disseminate Decrees, Laws and Resolutions. In application of this principle, these regulations do not have validity from the moment they are sanctioned, but from the moment they are published.

For these reasons, the various military dictatorships and de facto governments frequently used secret laws and decrees. In other words, since they were not representatives of the people but only of themselves, they did not feel obliged to publicize even the external actions of their respective governments.

On the contrary, the internal actions of the State have not usually been included within the issues to which the publicity of government acts reaches.

An ambiguous border between one and the other has been that of reserved expenses. Under pretexts such as national defense, large sums of money were assigned to destinations that were not explained, which allows to suppose at least the possibility of deviations of a corrupt nature. Reserved funds, an important characteristic of de facto governments, are still under the constitutional regime.

Also significant is the frequent contradiction between a constitutional or legal regulation that grants a right like the one we are analyzing and an administrative regulation (or practice) that denies it. Municipal areas are traditionally information sites closed to the user public. There is then the paradox of a constitutional right denied by a norm of much lower hierarchy, such as a resolution of a municipal director, for example.

Restrictions on public information are, however, much stronger at the national level than in the Province of Buenos Aires. In this regard, Sabsay and Tarak comment that "the reform of our fundamental law of 1994, although it introduced environmental issues and sustainable development in its text, forgot the recognition of the right of free access to public information. Reading the article 41 consecrating the right to a healthy environment establishes among its provisions that the authorities will provide environmental information. But what happens when they do not fulfill their mission or do so in a defective way or delayed in time? The article we have cited does not say anything about it. It is clear that the editor has fallen short. We do not doubt that he has imposed certain types of obligations on the government in matters of information. We understand that they are:

"* The need to store the information;

"* The need to do it systematically and periodically;

"* The need to order it so as to facilitate access to it.

"We consider that these three obligations arise implicitly. Well, how to provide what has not been saved, how to think that the information can be stored in a disorderly way and finally it would not be reasonable to think that the drafter of the Constitution has complied with the obligation out of all periodicity in time. Given these assertions that we are making, we believe that much progress has been made "[7].

The Constitution of the Province of Buenos Aires has a greater degree of progress in this regard than the National Constitution, since that of the Province determines as its obligation: "to guarantee the right to request and receive adequate information and to participate in the defense of the environment, natural and cultural resources "[8]. Something similar happens in the City of Buenos Aires, although the principle of publicity of information does not have an effective fulfillment.

It is significant that in all the regulations on the public function, State employees are required to remain silent about the facts that they learn in the performance of their duties. [9] Also significant is the frequent contradiction between a constitutional regulation that grants a right like the one we are analyzing and an administrative regulation that denies it. The applicability of this tool in the discussion of future economic development strategies requires the generation of specific regulations for the availability of environmental information at the national, provincial and municipal levels.

If it is desired that citizens assume a leading role in the country's recovery process, the information they receive cannot be mediated by the wishes or interests of the authorities.

All existing information must be available, regardless of the opinion of the officials on the alleged consequences of this availability. It is also necessary to establish a suitable complaints mechanism in the case of concealment of environmental information.

In this regard, the Constitution of the City of Buenos Aires makes the amparo action expedited, as a way to quickly access it. It is significant that both the Law in force in the City of Buenos Aires and all the legislative projects related to the right to environmental information do not oblige the petitioner to justify the reasons for requesting such information. [10] In other words, it is assumed that environmental information is in the self-interest of the person requesting it. However, the difficulties and costs of filing an amparo action are not available to everyone. Inclusive, nuestra práctica en la Defensoría del Pueblo de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires muestra que son varios los organismos gubernamentales que niegan información a la Defensoría. En este caso, cuando los pedidos de informes suman varios centenares, no hay estructura administrativa capaz de iniciar centenares de acciones de amparo para obtener cada uno de los informes solicitados.

La experiencia demuestra que la tutela ejercida por los organismos públicos es insuficiente para el cuidado del medio ambiente y la calidad de vida. Se hace indispensable que los propios afectados cuenten con toda la información necesaria sobre los hechos que puedan incidir sobre sus vidas, sin que se deba alegar secreto empresarial o estratégico. En la Argentina los entes públicos y privados abusan del secreto y el ejercicio de los derechos vinculados con el sistema democrático requiere de un grado mucho más alto de transparencia informativa.

El tema ha sido incluído en la Constitución de Río Negro (art. 26), de San Juan (art. 27), en la de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (art. 26), etc. Cualquier proyecto participativo requiere su explicitación en el nivel que se realice.

Este aspecto puede llegar a ser particularmente sensible en los próximos años, ya que la salida de la actual situación económica pude implicar el chantaje de aceptar cualquier forma de contaminación o degradación ambiental a cambio de la creación de empleos, como, por otra parte, ya está ocurriendo. Por ejemplo, a mediados del 2001 se intentó privatizar terrenos del Parque Pereyra Iraola para emprendimientos inmobiliarios, con el argumento de que la destrucción de ese parque público permitiría crear nuevos empleos. Lo mismo está ocurriendo con proyectos mineros muy contaminantes en varias provincias. Va a ser el momento en el cual la información ambiental juegue un rol decisivo.

5. El ambiente como patrimonio común y el amparo ambiental: el aire es de todos

La posibilidad de cuestionar judicialmente las decisiones del poder administrador es otra de las herramientas de la democracia participativa, que pone en cuestión los modelos tradicionales de relación entre gobernantes y gobernados.

Los principios básicos de discrecionalidad de la Administración Pública impidieron durante mucho tiempo la realización de este tipo de acciones. Al respecto, los principales especialistas en derecho administrativo cuestionaron la validez de este tipo de herramientas, por considerar que limitaban el poder otorgado por el pueblo en los actos electorales y podían impedir el cumplimiento de los cometidos del poder administrador. En un juicio en el que tres ciudadanos pedimos la prohibición del defoliante 2,4,5-T (que había sido usado como arma en la guerra de Vietnam), el abogado de la parte contraria sostuvo que los administrados no podían cuestionar las decisiones del poder administrador [11]. La discusión de fondo era: ¿estábamos actuando como administrados sujetos al poder de turno o como ciudadanos que ejercen sus derechos?

Para que un derecho pueda ser defendido judicialmente (por la vía del amparo o de alguna otra) es necesario que sea reconocido como de jerarquía constitucional, ya sea explícito o implícito.

La Constitución Nacional establece que "todos los habitantes gozan del derecho a un ambiente sano, equilibrado y apto para el desarrollo humano, y tienen el deber de preservarlo" (art. 41).

En algunas constituciones extranjeras y provinciales también se amplía la expresión como el derecho de todos sus habitantes "a vivir en un ambiente sano y ecológicamente equilibrado". Se trata simplemente de un error. El equilibrio ecológico no es una expresión genérica, del tipo del bienestar general. Es una expresión estrictamente técnica, referida a los ecosistemas en estado clímax, y, que por ende, han evolucionado sin intervención humana. El Estado no puede garantizar el equilibrio ecológico, ya que ese equilibrio sólo es posible si se elimina la intervención humana sobre los ecosistemas. Para lograr el equilibrio ecológico, sería necesario arrancar los cultivos y demoler las ciudades. Lo que, obviamente, no es posible ni deseable.

Al estar consagrando derechos ambientales estamos planteando que la legislación debe explicitar esos derechos y establecer los mecanismos necesarios para su ejercicio. ¿En qué derechos pensamos? El derecho a respirar aire puro, a beber agua limpia, a una alimentación química y bacteriológicamente pura; el derecho a circular y habitar en áreas libres de residuos, a un ambiente laboral sano, al uso y goce de espacios verdes y abiertos, a la preservación del silencio, a habitar en una ciudad no contaminada visualmente.

La inclusión del deber de preservar un ambiente sano ha sido incorporado a la Constitución Nacional. También está en las constituciones del Perú (art. 123), España (art. 45), Córdoba (art. 38), Formosa (art. 38) Jujuy (art. 22), La Rioja (art. 66), Río Negro (art. 84), Salta (art. 78), etc. En la Constitución de la Provincia de Buenos Aires se dice "conservarlo y protegerlo", para señalar que las agresiones al ambiente son intencionales y que requieren de una defensa activa (art. 28).

Esto apunta a que cada habitante proteja los propios derechos y los de las demás personas. El que la protección ambiental sea, al mismo tiempo, un derecho y un deber, lo ubica dentro de los derechos sociales. Además, la orden de que cesen las actividades que supongan un daño al ambiente es mucho más enérgica y hasta ahora aparece sólo en la Constitución de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires.

También la Constitución Nacional, afirma que "las actividades productivas que satisfagan las necesidades presentes no comprometerán las de las generaciones futuras". La obligación de reparar los daños se refiere implícitamente a personas, ecosistemas y patrimonio construído porque apunta a aspectos distintos: indemnizar a las personas afectadas y reparar los daños causados a los bienes materiales, tanto naturales como construídos.

Al respecto, el texto de la Constitución Nacional es demasiado impreciso, ya que dice que: "el daño ambiental generará prioritariamente la obligación de recomponer, según lo establezca la ley". Sobre esto, el Dr. Mario Valls señala "la falta de claridad del párrafo. Evidentemente quiere decir que si alguien daña el ambiente va a tener que arbitrar los medios para solucionar el lío que hizo. Parece que quiere decir eso. Pero no lo dice" [12].

La Constitución de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires no remite a una ley que pueda relativizar esta obligación. Además, utiliza la palabra conlleva en vez de generará, lo que también le da un peso mayor. Este texto está tomado principalmente de la Constitución del Brasil (art. 225) El mismo principio está en la de España (art. 45) y en la del Paraguay (art. 8).

Todo esto nos lleva a señalar que en la Constitución de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires se agrega la mayor garantía para la defensa de los intereses difusos, que es la afirmación de que: "El ambiente es patrimonio común". La mención del ambiente como patrimonio común no es tampoco de índole genérica, sino que es la base para crear un mecanismo de amparo amplio, que puede ser usado en cualquier circunstancia imaginable en que se violen los derechos consagrados por la Constitución.

De este modo, se trata de corregir uno de los muchos puntos débiles de la Constitución Nacional, que en este tema legitima para actuar solamente al particular afectado, al defensor del pueblo y a las entidades especialmente autorizadas para presentar amparos (art. 43 de la CN).

Todos sabemos que decir "entidades autorizadas" equivale a decir entidades que hayan recibido un permiso del Poder Ejecutivo para hacerlo, y no siempre el otorgamiento de esos permisos es políticamente neutral. La Constitución Nacional deja la puerta abierta para que sólo sean autorizados los amigos del gobierno de turno. Por un temor al exceso de acciones de amparo se corre el riesgo de desamparar a los ciudadanos, cuando son perjudicados, pero no pueden reunir las pruebas de un perjuicio personal, directo.

Ahora bien, en este artículo de la Constitución de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires se dice que cualquiera puede reclamar por cualquier cosa, sin necesidad de demostrar un perjuicio personal (art. 14). "Toda persona puede ejercer acción expedita, rápida y gratuita de amparo (…) contra todo acto u omisión de las autoridades públicas o de particulares" (que afecten derechos consagrados constitucionalmente). "Están legitimados para interponerla cualquier habitante y las personas jurídicas defensoras de derechos o intereses colectivos, cuando la acción se ejerza contra alguna forma de discriminación, o en los casos en que se vean afectados derecho o intereses colectivos, como la protección del ambiente, del trabajo y la seguridad social, del patrimonio cultural e histórico de la Ciudad, de la competencia, del usuario o del consumidor".

Esto significa un cambio profundo en nuestra forma de pensar el derecho, que tiene que ver con consagrar los intereses y los derechos colectivos o difusos. Se trata de legitimar a cualquier persona para que reclame en nombre del interés común, y no sólo en nombre de su interés particular. La Constitución de la Provincia de Buenos Aires tiene una interpretación más amplia de la acción de amparo, ya que es claro que sus constituyentes no pensaron sólo en la protección de los derechos individuales.

Second part

Video: Citizen Engagement: Informatics in the Service of Health- Patricia Brennan, Keynote Speaker (June 2022).


  1. Stilleman

    By me, this is not the best variant

  2. Wayde


  3. Zero

    You won't do it.

  4. Iuwine

    What necessary phrase... super, a brilliant idea

  5. Nur

    What's this?

  6. Elzie

    interesting, and the analog is?

  7. Kong

    very real

  8. Thaw

    Also that we would do without your magnificent phrase

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