At the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20), nine Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) governments took a giant step in the direction of ensuring the realization of environmental democracy. Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador and Uruguay together, pledged to begin negotiations leading to a groundbreaking Regional Agreement that will enshrine public rights of access to environmental information, public participation, and justice.
The signing of the Principle 10 declaration was largely the result of demands brought by broad-based coalitions of national civil society organizations that make up The Access Initiative (TAI) lead by its Secretariat the World Resources Institute (WRI) with support from key international partners CIEL and Article 19.
TAI is a global civil society network dedicated to improving citizens’ access to environmental decision-making, strengthening the enforcement of environmental law and policy, combating corruption, and realizing human rights. Within the region, in the run-up to Rio+20, TAI partners were actively involved in the process of advocating that governments adopt an instrument for the region.
TAI partners from Chile (PARTICIPA) and Jamaica (JET) led the way by getting their governments to officially support the process of designating a regional agreement for Principle 10 as a priority outcome. TAI provided written and oral submissions to this effect in all the Rio +20 official meetings. TAI convened events, organized a Principle 10 letter writing campaign and advocated with key governments to join the process.
TAI continues to play a leadership role with partners at the national level to help define and advocate for a strong agreement through this process. TAI Latin America and the Caribbean is advocating for a legally binding regional convention to support the full implementation of access rights in the region. TAI wants to encourage the participation of all countries in the region to join the process of negotiation. We believe the process to obtain the agreement must facilitate the full participation of the public in the negotiation process.
The TAI network encompasses more than 250 civil society organizations in over 50 countries worldwide, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Each TAI country Chapter is independent of each other (and from WRI), is led by a TAI partner organization and consists of individual experts and civil society organizations who are members of that Chapter. TAI Chapters promote environmental democracy at the national level and undertake evidence-based advocacy, engagement and programs that they develop and implement.