Fourteen Countries Sign New Generation Agreement at UN Headquarters on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters

23.10.2018

Fourteen Countries Sign New Generation Agreement at UN Headquarters on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters

More than a dozen countries signed the historic environmental agreement that guarantees rights for access to information, citizen participation and access to justice in environmental matters.

Last September 27th, within the framework of the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations, 14 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (1) signed the Regional Agreement of Escazú that guarantees and promotes access to information, participation and justice in environmental issues.

This agreement, the only treaty emanating from Rio+20, is also the first in the region on environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the only one of its kind to contain specific provisions for the promotion and protection of human rights defenders. in environmental matters. This is especially relevant in one of the most critical regions of the planet for those who defend the environment and the earth.

 

It should be noted that the Escazú Agreement is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, since it guarantees and provides tools so that all people, especially those who are excluded or in a vulnerable situation, have reliable access to information, can participate effectively in processes of decision-making, and, in addition, access to justice, allowing an equitable distribution of the costs and benefits of development.

It is an immediate response by the countries to the explosive increase in environmental conflicts in Latin America and the Caribbean, and to the millions of people who suffer from the consequences of pollution and pressure by natural resources in a region where conflict environmental, far from diminishing, has been increasing considerably.

This treaty is a tool that will promote the creation of legal frameworks for the protection of the environment in those countries that do not yet have sufficiently developed regulations, while, at the same time, it will be a powerful instrument to improve the implementation and compliance of the standards. in those States that, as in the case of Argentina, have serious deficits in the matter.

The signing of this agreement is a significant event for civil society in Latin America and the Caribbean, whose representatives formed part of the negotiation of this agreement, through their elected representatives, and where Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN) participated actively.

For Andrés Nápoli, Executive Director of FARN and who served as alternate elected representative of the public before the Negotiating Committee of the Escazú Agreement, the adoption of this instrument by the countries of the region is of significant importance in that it will provide the population indispensable tools to defend their rights, but also creates international instances that will allow citizens to claim and review the behavior of those countries that attempt against the validity of the rights established in this agreement.

Like any international agreement, its entry into force will occur according to the rules established in the instrument itself. In this case, when the ratification of at least 11 countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region has been achieved.

It is worth noting that the Argentine Republic has been one of the countries that signed the agreement on that date, which places it in an outstanding position in relation to it in the region, a commitment that must now endorse through the ratification of the agreement by the National Congress.

 

(1) Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia and Uruguay – Source: ECLAC

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