Saint Lucia and the Commonwealth of Dominica are the only two Eastern Caribbean countries that have not yet signed on to the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Declaration on Principle 10. This declaration, which has a total of 22 LAC signatory countries (4 of which are from the Eastern Caribbean), is seeking to improve rights of access to information, encourage public participation and ensure access to justice in environmental matters. As such, it was timely for the Communications & Advocacy Officer at the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) and Elected Representative of the Public on this process, Karetta Crooks Charles, to issue a call for greater involvement of Caribbean countries in the LAC Principle 10 process at a recent meeting of Technical Officers responsible for the Environment in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The meeting was held at the OECS Secretariat in Saint Lucia on August 24, 2016.
In her presentation, Mrs. Crooks Charles provided an overview of the LAC Principle 10 process and explained the need for increased involvement of Caribbean countries in shaping this regional agreement geared at setting minimum standards for environmental governance in the region. She said, “It is encouraging to see yet another Caribbean country sign on to the process. St. Kitts & Nevis made the bold move at the last negotiation which was held a few weeks ago and as such all non-signatory countries are encouraged to follow suit and join at the next meeting scheduled for November 2016.” Mrs. Crooks Charles also encouraged signatory countries to increase activities to raise awareness of this process and to show the linkages between Principle 10 and environmental issues such as climate change, which require the active engagement of governments and citizens in tackling this phenomenon.
Those in attendance at the time of the LAC Principle 10 presentation were the Director General of the OECS, Dr. Didacus Jules, other OECS staff, Mr. Crispin d’ Auvergne - Chief Sustainable Development and Environment Officer in the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender and Sustainable Development of Saint Lucia and other officers from that department, while Technical Environmental Officers from St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines joined the meeting virtually. Thereafter, the Technical Officers had a closed session to discuss preparations for the 22nd session of the Conference for the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Climate Change Conference slated for November in Morocco.
The Trust thanks the OECS for this opportunity and encourages other regional and local agencies to join us as we advocate for the active involvement of citizens in the environmental decision making process and for necessary mechanisms to be established and effectively enforced so that present and future generations benefit from our natural resources and not just a selected few.
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 and to begin negotiating a Regional Agreement that will bring standards in access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters in their countries. This commitment seeks to ensure that all people in Latin America and the Caribbean participate in environmental decisions that affect them directly. This Regional Agreement 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 join the negotiation process for the Regional Agreement by signing the Declaration, simply contact the Technical Secretariat for this process, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please contact:
Elected Representative of the Public (Chile)
Elected Representative of the Public (Jamaica)
Journalist (Latin America)
Karetta Crooks Charles
Alternate Elected Representative of the Public (St. Lucia) & Journalist (Caribbean)