Gibbon’s Motion Could Change Way Council Does Business

Rights of Nature Motion by Cllr Gibbons challenges existing Council sustainability.

Rights of Nature Motion by Cllr Gibbons challenges existing Council sustainability.

Rostrevor-based Councillor Mark Gibbons has brought forward a motion to embed a new approach into the thinking and practices of Newry Mourne and Down District Council.

Independent councillor Mark Gibbons from the Crotlieve DEA brought forward a motion to Newry Mourne and Down District Council on Monday evening that could significantly change the way that council officers approach the development of planning, policy and projects impacting on the community.

The following notice of motion was received from Councillor Gibbons seeking for communities to become more safe, strong and more resilient. The motion is centred on the Rights of Nature doctrine currently taking a significant grip in countries around the world as the global warming crisis rumbles on.

To date, countries which have adopte da rights of nature approach include: United States, Australia, New Zealand, India, Bangladesh, Ecuador, and Columbia.

Notices of Motion.

Reading the Motion, Cllr Mark Gibbons said: “Council notes the legal and social movement globally for the ‘Rights of Nature’ aimed to strengthen protections for people, place and planet.

Council recognises that ‘Rights of Nature’ can help catalyse an innovative rethinking about how to create regenerative, not extractivist, economies while also making human and other living

Cllr Mark Gibbons has brought forward a motion to Newry Mourne and Down District Council on the ‘rights of nature’.

“Council commends the excellent work already being done by our Council officers on the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis but recognises the need for a rights based approach to nature.

Council will, over the next 6 months, collaborate with civic society (including The Gathering, Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland and trade unions) to explore what rights of nature mean for the people and economies of the region and to investigate how Rights of Nature could be expressed in community plans, corporate plans, improvement objectives and other strategic frameworks.

“In particular, the Council will in the next six months hold two community workshops and work with the local community and stakeholders to draw up a Declaration for the Rights of Nature for the Council area to be brought back before Council for adoption. Council asks for a report to come to Council on embedding ‘Rights of Nature’ as a keystone concept into Council’s operational practices, planning processes and long-term decision-making.

Council notes our position as a border region and our mutual environmental obligations under the Espoo Convention and so invites all Councils in the North to also explore ‘Rights of Nature’ for their Council area.”

Council Standing Orders 16. 1. 6 were invoked as Council chairperson Cathy Mason indicated that the motion would be referred to the Active and Healthy Communities Committee. Instead of a motion being debated and voted on at the full council session, the Chair can defer non-urgent matters to the various committees for consideration and to report back to the full council body.

This pathway to exploring the motion will allow a full discussion by Council given it will if adopted have significant strategic and operational considerations.


The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was set up in 1947 by ECOSOC. It is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations. 

UNECE’s key aim is to promote economic development across Europe, and to promote European economic integration. Also, UNECE has 56 member States from across Europe, North America and Asia.

Furthermore, any state in the United Nations can take part in the work of UNECE and currently over 70 international professional organisations and other non-governmental organisations take part in UNECE activities.

Check out:

Read a Guardian article on the Rights of Nature philosophy and the movement:

Have a look at the Rights of Nature UK Facebook page: