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Common natural assets

(Bienes naturales comunes)

Imagen aérea del peñón de Guatapé en Colombia. Hay montañas, construcciones, un curso de agua y el cielo con nubes.
Common natural assets or natural resources are objects that are naturally existing on earth. They are valuable to manufacture products, meet needs, and provide ecosystem services.

The international community—especially the Inter-American System for the protection of human rights—uses the expression natural resources considering the special relation that indigenous and tribal peoples have with their territory. However, the academic sector and civil society argue in favour of using common natural assets to replace natural resources given that the latter implies an anthropocentric vision.

The concept of natural resources entails an economic and extractivist perspective, which reduces nature to a source of supplies for capitalist production and to its value as a commodity. In contrast, the concept of common natural assets involves greater respect for nature and also aligns with indigenous cultures and traditions. It also considers its environmental and symbolic value.

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