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Insights and Analysis

To Save the Philippines’ Forests, He Sued for Future Generations

July 26, 2023

By John Rieger and Tracie Yang

Philippines Old Growth Forest

This July marks the 30th anniversary of a legal decision in the Philippines that has reverberated far beyond those shores. In 1993, a young attorney named Antonio Oposa sued the Philippine Department of the Environment and Natural Resources and its secretary, “Jun” Factoran, to halt logging in the nation’s vanishing old-growth forests. The remarkable aspect of the case is that he sued on behalf of generations as yet unborn.

The key holding of Minors Oposa vs. Factoran is now known as the Oposa Doctrine. It grants current generations legal standing to bring actions on behalf of future generations with respect to environmental rights.

Joining John and Tracie to talk about his famous case is lawyer and environmentalist Antonio Oposa. Also joining us is his longtime friend Erik Jensen, formerly with The Asia Foundation in Manila and now at Stanford Law School, who had a first-hand view of the event.



Environmental lawyer Antonio Oposa of the Philippines

Related locations: Philippines
Related programs: Environment and Climate Action


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