LAC Advances Negotiations on Principle 10 Regional Instrument
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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Latin American and Caribbean countries held the fourth negotiating session on a regional agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters (Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development).

The negotiating committee considered a revised draft text (LC/L.4059/Rev.2) that addresses substantive aspects of the agreement and reflects countries' earlier proposals.

ECLAC15 August 2016: Latin American and Caribbean countries held the fourth negotiating session on a regional agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters (Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development). The negotiating committee considered a revised draft text (LC/L.4059/Rev.2) that addresses substantive aspects of the agreement and reflects countries’ earlier proposals.

The Fourth Meeting of the Negotiating Committee took pace in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from 9-12 August 2016.

Among the issues in focus were the right of access to environmental information, and the generation and dissemination of environmental information. Countries agreed to include provisions in the agreement to: immediately disseminate all information that might help the public take measures to prevent or limit potential damage to health or the environment; use available mechanisms to develop and implement an early warning system; help vulnerable groups access environmental information; and ensure information dissemination by authorities in various languages and in alternative formats.

Joseluis Samaniego, UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which acts as technical secretariat for the negotiation process, said the “deep economic, social and environmental imbalances” in the LAC region show that the prevailing development paradigm is unsustainable. He underscored that this process is an example that the region can strengthen environmental governance by contributing to economic and social progress, as well as environmental sustainability.

Participants also underscored that: Principle 10 is linked to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and, thus, the regional agreement represents progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda; the Committee’s approach to negotiations can help other negotiating processes; the regional agreement must be inclusive enough to involve every person regardless of race, language or status; and inclusive policies must be formulated with civil society participation.

The revised negotiating text was compiled by the Committee’s Presiding Officers following the third negotiating meeting, which took place in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 5-8 April 2016. Based on discussions from the fourth meeting, a new text will be developed and published ahead of the fifth meeting, convening from 22-25 November 2016, also in Santiago. Negotiations are expected to conclude in December 2016.

Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration aims to ensure that everyone has access to information, participates in decision making and can access justice in environmental matters, and the right to a healthy and sustainable environment for present and future generations. During the meeting, Saint Kitts and Nevis became the 22nd country to endorse the regional declaration on the application of Principle 10 in LAC. [ECLAC Press Release, 9 August] [ECLAC Press Release, 12 August] [Meeting Website] [Third Version of Regional Agreement Text] [General Information on Principle 10][IISD RS coverage of the LAC process on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters]


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