Ford Seminar

The Right to Development and Integral Ecology through the Amazon Synod


Diane Desierto
Associate Professor of Human Rights Law and Global Affairs
Kellogg Institute Faculty Fellow

How does the Catholic Church's concept of Integral Ecology converge and diverge with the international legal Right to Development in envisioning protection of the Amazon – the Earth's most crucial atmospheric sink that is central to all global efforts to address climate change – and the numerous indigenous peoples of the Amazon from the impacts of unfettered natural resource extractive activities?  This seminar discusses the broader pioneering vision of Integral Ecology as set out in the Amazon Synod documents premised on the vindication of human dignity, environmental stewardship, and responsibility, in contrast to the narrower vision of the 1986 UN Declaration on the Right to Development. The seminar further discusses the parallel conceptualizations of Integral Ecology with the expanded postulation of the right to development in the draft Convention on the Right to Development slated to be voted on by States in May 2020.

The Ford Program Research Seminar Series meets monthly, providing faculty members doing research supported by or related to the Ford Program's mission the chance to share their work, whether in early, middle or late stages of development. It is an opportunity for colleagues to come together in a friendly atmosphere to offer constructive feedback and perhaps come away with some new ideas for our own human development/human dignity-related research. The Seminar hopes to build intellectual community around the Ford Program's mission of conducting research that promises to deepen our understanding of human dignity and enhance the effectiveness of efforts to promote integral human development.