ECLAC Outlines Progress Toward Principle 10 Instrument
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has released an information note on the process to develop an instrument on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) on the rights of access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters.

ECLACJune 2014: The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has released an information note on the process to develop an instrument on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) on the rights of access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters.

A Declaration on the application of Principle 10 was signed at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) in 2012 by ten LAC countries, after which countries began work towards such an instrument. Thus far, the Declaration has been signed by 18 countries in the LAC region.

According to ECLAC, which serves as technical secretariat, signatory countries have committed to develop and implement a Plan of Action for 2014, in order to advance a regional convention or other instrument for the rights of access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters. Such a regional instrument would support Principle 10 implementation by formalizing efforts in State policy, transcending political cycles, and providing opportunities for intra-regional cooperation.

Chile, the Dominican Republic and Mexico are coordinating the process, with the assistance of a Working Group on Capacity-Building and Cooperation, coordinated by Colombia and Jamaica, and a Working Group on Access Rights and Regional Instrument, coordinated by Brazil and Costa Rica.

The Principle 10 process in the LAC region is promoting the Declaration by: incorporating new signatories to the process; strengthening and highlighting progress made; taking actions to promote public participation at the national level; establishing working groups to advance work toward a regional instrument; and convening regular meetings of signatory countries. A Public Regional Mechanism enables public participation in the process.

The next meeting, to convene in Santiago, Chile, in November 2014, is expected to define the nature and content of the regional instrument.

The First Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the CELAC-EU summit, both held in January 2013, recognized the importance of access rights, and in October 2013, the ‘Lima Vision for a Regional Instrument on Access Rights Relating to the Environment’ was agreed. In this vision, countries agreed to the following values and principles to guide the instrument: equality, inclusion, transparency, proactivity, collaboration, progressive realization and non-regression. [ECLAC Information Note on the Principle 10 Process] [Information Note in Spanish] [Information Note in Portuguese] [Declaration on Principle 10 Website]

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