LAC Countries Conclude Seventh Round of Negotiations on Principle 10
Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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Representatives from 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) resumed negotiations on a regional agreement that will enable access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters, and the promotion of a new development paradigm that prioritizes equality and environmental sustainability.

Saint Lucia became the 24th signatory country to the Declaration on the Application of Principle 10 in LAC.

4 August 2017: Representatives from 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) resumed negotiations on a regional agreement that will enable access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters, and the promotion of a new development paradigm that prioritizes equality and environmental sustainability.

The Seventh Meeting of the Negotiating Committee of the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development), convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 31 July to 4 August 2017. The meeting brought countries that have signed onto the regional initiative for the effective application of Principle 10 in LAC one step closer to the conclusion of the negotiating process.

During the opening session, Costa Rican Deputy Environment Minister Patricia Madrigal, speaking on behalf of the Presiding Officers of the Negotiating Committee, said the regional agreement is a “floor for guaranteeing respect for rights of access” and urged a new type of relationship between the State and the public regarding human rights.

Negotiations for a regional agreement on Principle 10 are a testament to the LAC region’s compliance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Joseluis Samaniego, UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), said that negotiations for a regional agreement on Principle 10 are a testament to the LAC region’s compliance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Discussing a new development paradigm, he emphasized resource efficiency, climate resilience, innovative and environment-friendly technologies, and low-carbon economic pathways.

Civil society representatives emphasized that the full application of Principle 10 is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. The meeting included a high-level session on capacity building for implementation of the future agreement, which will contribute to the implementation of SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), among others.

Negotiations on the regional agreement continued based on the sixth version of the text compiled by the Presiding Officers of the process, which incorporates proposals made by countries during the Sixth meeting of the Negotiating Committee in Brasilia, Brazil, in March 2017. Participants concluded negotiations of articles referring to the pillars of access to information and of participation, highlighted the importance of protecting environmental “defenders” in LAC countries, and discussed strengthening national capacities and regional cooperation. Participants also invited all countries in the region that have not yet done so to join the regional process; reaffirmed a flexible negotiating process that includes working groups to address remaining issues; and stressed the importance of public participation in the process.

The process towards a regional agreement was launched at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012, with the Declaration on the Application of Principle 10. In November 2014, signatory countries adopted the Santiago Decision, agreeing to commence negotiations on a regional instrument. On the first day of the Seventh Meeting of the Negotiating Committee, Saint Lucia became the 24th signatory country to the Declaration on the Application of Principle 10 in LAC.

The seventh meeting was organized by the Government of Argentina and ECLAC, which acts as the Technical Secretariat of the negotiating process. The eighth meeting of the Negotiating Committee will meet from 20-24 November 2017, in a place to be determined. [ECLAC Press Release, Meeting Opening] [ECLAC Press Release, Meeting Conclusion] [Meeting Website] [Sixth Version of the Negotiating Text] [SDG Knowledge Hub Policy Brief on the Negotiating Process] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on the Sixth Meeting of the Negotiating Committee]


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