LAC Holds Fifth Round of Negotiations on Principle 10 Instrument
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) countries have concluded a fifth round of negotiations on a regional agreement on access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters (Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development), progressing on drafting a final text, which is expected to be approved by governments in 2017.

During the Fifth Meeting of the Negotiating Committee of the Regional Agreement on Principle 10, which convened in Santiago, Chile, from 21-25 November 2016, delegates discussed substantive aspects of the agreement, based on the fourth version of the text (LC/L.4059/Rev.3) compiled by the Committee's Presiding Officers and incorporating countries' proposals.

25 November 2016: Latin America and Caribbean countries concluded their fifth round of negotiations on a regional agreement on access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters (Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development). Governments made progress on drafting a final text, and agreed to continue negotiations at a sixth meeting, which will be held in Brazil in March 2017.

The Fifth Meeting of the Negotiating Committee of the Regional Agreement on Principle 10 convened in Santiago, Chile, from 21-25 November 2016. During the gathering, Dominica became the 23rd country sign onto the initiative.

Delegates discussed substantive aspects of the agreement, based on the fourth version of the text (LC/L.4059/Rev.3), which incorporated countries’ proposals following the Fourth Meeting of the Negotiating Committee, in August 2016. Discussions progressed on articles related to public participation in environmental decision-making and access to justice.

Pablo Badenier, Chile’s Environment Minister, said the Principle 10 process demonstrates a new model of best practices in international negotiations.

President of Chile Michelle Bachelet addressed the meeting via video, urging participants to include citizens in decisions on environmental processes that affect them. Pablo Badenier, Chile’s Environment Minister, said the Principle 10 process demonstrates “a new model of best practices in international negotiations,” noting it will lead to greater legitimacy for environmental management, help prevent environmental conflicts and increase natural resource protection. Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), stressed that democracy, good governance and the rule of law are essential for sustainable development. She also said the instrument redefines traditional relations between the State, the private sector and civil society. Participants stressed that greater access to environmental information, participation and justice will lead to better public policies.

The meeting included a Round-table on Environmental Justice and Access Rights for Sustainable Development in LAC, organized by ECLAC and UN Environment. During this discussion, judges from the region stressed that access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a basic human right, and cited the need for education for environmental development.

In conjunction with the meeting, ECLAC and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) launched the book, ‘Society, rights and the environment: international human rights standards applicable to access to information, public participation and access to justice.’ The publication compiles international human rights standards that are applicable to access to information, participation and access to justice, and invites LAC countries to promote and protect these rights, while incorporating them into sustainable development strategies, policies and programmes.

ECLAC also presented the ‘Observatory on Principle 10 in Latin America and the Caribbean,’ which presents a collection of laws, policies, treaties and jurisprudence that guarantee that people’s rights to information, participation and justice in environmental matters are applied. The publication will soon be available on ECLAC’s website.

The meeting was organized by the Government of Chile and ECLAC, which acts as the Technical Secretariat of the negotiating process. [Meeting Website] [Regional Instrument on Principle 10 Website] [ECLAC Opening Press Releaser] [ECLAC Closing Press Release] [Society, rights and the environment: international human rights standards applicable to access to information, public participation and access to justice] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on the Fourth Meeting of the Negotiating Committee]

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