Representatives from Civil Society Organizations were in Panama preparing for the next round of negotiations on the Latin American and Caribbean Agreement regarding Access to Information, Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters.
From 13th - 14th July, 16 members of civil society and Elected Representatives of the Public from 10 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean participated in preparatory sessions at the Environmental Advocacy Centre (CIAM) for the next negotiation meeting which will be held in the Dominican Republic from August 9 - 12, 2016.
To date, there are 21 signatory countries to the Declaration that seeks to raise standards of access to information, public participation and justice regarding environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean through a robust and clear agreement. Signatory countries expect to conclude the negotiation of the Regional Agreement by December 2016.
"It is extremely important that we achieve a binding agreement to better protect the environmental defenders of our countries," said Andrea Sanhueza, Elected Public Representative (Chile). Furthermore, Danielle Andrade, Elected Public Representative (Jamaica) added, “There are only six signatory Caribbean countries, therefore, we are hoping that more will join the process before the 4th negotiation meeting and actively participate in the process geared at raising our standards regarding access rights in environmental matters”.
Elected Representatives of the Public have actively participated and provided their contributions in previous negotiation meetings held in 2015 in Santiago, Chile and Panama City, Panama and most recently in Montevideo, Uruguay, in April 2016. The report from the last negotiation can be accessed at http://media.wix.com/ugd/0cd7e7_79cd574703ed43e49f22e1456206fe65.pdf.
What is the Declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean on Principle 10?
It is a political commitment made by several governments of the region to promote a change in the way decisions are made. This commitment seeks to ensure that all people in Latin America and the Caribbean participate in environmental decisions that affect them directly. This Declaration will help citizens to obtain information, participate in decision-making, prevent the development of projects that could damage their lives and livelihoods, and prevent the proliferation of social and environmental conflicts. Any country in Latin America and the Caribbean can sign the Declaration by contacting the Technical Secretariat for this process, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean at email@example.com.