Latin America and the Caribbean come together to protect the right of their citizens to participate in environmental decisions
On March 4, representatives of 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean approved the first binding agreement in the region on protection of rights of access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters
This text remained in negotiation since 2014, and was approved by the representatives in this ninth Meeting of the Negotiating Committee of the Regional Agreement on Principle 10 in San José, Costa Rica. The agreement will be open for signature by the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and will be available on September 27 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, assured that "with this agreement, the region testifies to its firm and unequivocal commitment to a foundational democratic principle: the right of people to participate meaningfully in decisions that affect their lives and their environment".
Group photo of the delegates attending the Ninth Meeting of the Negotiating Committe of the Regional Agreement on Principle 10, in Costa Rica.
"The great merit of this regional agreement is to place equality at the center of access rights and, therefore, in the environmental sustainability of development... This is a second generation agreement that links the environment with human rights and access rights, and that will undoubtedly contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the 2030 Agenda”, said the senior United Nations official.
Bárcena added that this regional agreement, together with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UN and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, respond to the search for answers from the international community to change the current style of development and "to build peaceful, inclusive and supportive partnerships, in which human rights are protected and the conservation of the planet and its natural resources is guaranteed".
The objective of the agreement is "to insurance the full and effective application in Latin America and the Caribbean of the rights of access to environmental information, public participation in the decision-making processes and access to justice, as well as the creation and strengthening of of capabilities and cooperation, contributing to the protection of the right of each person, of present and future generations, to live in a healthy environment and sustainable development".