What is the "Declaration"?
Ten Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries, Costa Rica, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, and Uruguay, signed the 2012 Declaration on the application of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (“the LAC Declaration on Principle 10”) at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012. Signatories to the Declaration agreed to support the development of a regional instrument which will strengthen access to information, encourage public participation, and strengthen access to justice in sustainable development decision‐making.
Why a regional instrument on Principle 10?
The LAC Declaration on Principle 10 has started the first-ever environmental democracy regional process in Latin America and the Caribbean. This Declaration will help countries improve access rights that are already part of the development agenda. Access rights are essential for sustainable development, as these rights bolster sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development, environmental protection and the eradication of poverty and hunger.
All Caribbean member countries of the United Nations Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) are signatories to the Rio Declaration and various other international and regional instruments with provisions relating to access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters (“access rights”).
The Declaration will result in an achievable regional standard for access rights. Signatories will benefit from a regional process that will:
Provide technical assistance, workshops, and capacity building.
Channel financial and other support from international organizations and bilateral donors.
Provide a dedicated secretariat with on-going support to the participating countries.
Lead to increased efficiency due to the sharing of resources and knowledge between the instrument’s Parties and interested partners.
Attract overseas development assistance on Principle 10 related-issues.
Establish consistent regional standards that will lead to closer integration of countries in the region, which leads to higher economic growth.
Create greater political stability within each country, which leads to greater political stability in the region.
Bring greater visibility to the region for its progressive initiative.
The Principle 10 Declaration moves the region a large step forward toward stronger environmental governance. Signatory governments have committed to drafting and implementing a Plan of Action 2012-2014 for the elaboration of a regional instrument. The Plan of Action has a mechanism to include civil society participation in the process of elaboration of the LAC Principle 10 instrument.
The first meeting of the focal points of the signatories to the Declaration was held from November 6-7, 2012 in Santiago, Chile. The Signatories agreed on a Road map to ensure full implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration. The Signatories approved a Steering Committee composed of the governments of Chile, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The Committee’s mandate is to coordinate the regional process, and in particular to coordinate the preparation of the Action Plan for 2013- 2014. This Action Plan was adopted on April 16-17, 2013 at the Second Meeting of the focal points held in Guadalajara, Mexico.
In the Plan of Action of Guadalajara, Mexico, the signatory countries of the Declaration agreed to establish a Regional Public Mechanism. The main objectives of this Mechanism are to keep all those interested in the process informed and facilitate their involvement; to coordinate public participation in international meetings; and to contribute to the transparency of the process. The Mechanism may also serve as a complement for participation actions carried out at the national level.