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Environmental protection in the Constitution, what happened to it?


Four bills under consideration in the Constitutional Affairs Committee in the Senate. But it is even mentioned by the Bozziw Commission © Ansa

The last appeal in chronological order is that of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte: "We must pursue a radical change in cultural paradigm. This is why we want to include the protection of the environment and biodiversity, together with sustainable development, directly in the Italian Constitution ". But the issue in question has been debated in Parliament for nearly 40 years.

It is even from the 'Bozzi Commission' of constitutional reform, 37 years ago, that the theme of introducing an explicit constitutional recognition of the right to the environment was also introduced into our system .

A few years earlier, in 1979 the Court of Cassation, with the famous sentence no. 5172 of October 6 had specified that each man, being the holder of inviolable rights, as an individual but also as a component of social training has a fundamental right to health not only as an individual, but also as a member of the communities he attends and therefore has the right to healthy environment .

Even before the reform of Title V of the second part of the Constitution, which introduced art. 117 the "protection of the environment and the ecosystem" among the matters reserved to the exclusive legislative competence of the State, although there is no specific reference to the environment in the Constitution, the Constitutional Court proceeded, in the process of jurisprudential elaboration, to the identification and recognition of it as a constitutional value. And other judgments of the Court have followed over the years even after the establishment of the Ministry of the Environment , with the recognition of the "effort of the legislator to give specific recognition to the protection of the environment as a fundamental right of the person and fundamental interest of the community and to create legal institutions for its protection ".

The debate, therefore, has been open for some time but, certainly also for the complex process that requires a constitutional reform, a reform has never been made in this sense. In 2003 Palazzo Madama had approved at first reading a text that introduced the reference to the natural environment 'as a further object of protection by the Republic, together with the landscape and the historical and artistic heritage of the Nation. A provision then largely reworked in the passage to the Chamber. That stopped for the end of the legislature .

Four bills are now under consideration in the Constitutional Affairs Committee at Palazzo Madama for the introduction of environmental protection into the Charter, on which a cycle of hearings is being held and which, after the maneuver, could be scheduled in the Chamber. in fact, on 8 January, the president of the parliamentary body expressed his intention to continue the process of the provision.

These are the bipartisan texts signed by senators from Leu, Pd, M5s and Fi . The one from which the debate started (and to which the others have been associated) is by Loredana De Petris (Leu) and provides that in article 9 of the Constitution, the "protection of environment and ecosystems as a fundamental right of the person and the community, promoting the conditions that make this right effective ". And yet the Republic "pursues the improvement of air, water, soil and territory conditions, as a whole and in its components, protects biodiversity and promotes respect for animals". "The protection of the environment - it is finally foreseen in the proposal - is based on the principles of precaution of preventive action, of responsibility and of the correction, as a priority at the source, of the damage caused by the environment".

Source: ansa

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