Escazú Celebrates Youth Champions, Needs 5 More Ratifications to Take Effect
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The Escazú Agreement is also the world’s first to contain provisions regarding human rights defenders in environmental matters.

Five youth were named ‘Champions of Escazú,’ in recognition of their commitment to the Agreement and its dissemination and entry into force.

Twenty-two countries have signed the Agreement, representing two-thirds of LAC countries, 560 million people and more than 90% of the region’s population.

At the beginning of March, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Government of Costa Rica, and The Access Initiative held an event to mark the two-year anniversary of the adoption of the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (Escazú Agreement). The event included naming five youth as ‘Champions of Escazú,’ and introducing a mobile phone application for using the Agreement.

The Escazú Agreement, the first regional agreement on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration and the first environmental treaty for the Latin American and Caribbean region, emerged from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). It was adopted on 4 March 2018, and opened for signature on 27 September 2018.  The Escazú Agreement is also the world’s first to contain provisions regarding human rights defenders in environmental matters. ECLAC serves as the Secretariat for the Agreement.

Preserving the environment is not possible without protecting those who defend it.

In remarks to participants at the anniversary event on 4 March 2020, in Santiago, Chile, ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena described the Agreement is a “pioneering instrument” to achieve sustainable development and contribute to implementation of the 2030 Agenda. She said preserving the environment is not possible without protecting those who defend it: the Agreement seeks to ensure that environmental defenders are not threatened, attacked or murdered for their work.

Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rodolfo Solano, reiterated that the Agreement highlights the interdependence between human rights and the environment, refers to the protection of environmental human rights defenders, and enshrines such principles as progressiveness and non-regression.

Five youth were named ‘Champions of Escazú’ in recognition of their commitment to the Agreement and its dissemination and entry into force. The youth, chosen from a pool of 58 applicants, hail from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Also during the event, a new application of the Observatory on Principle 10 in LAC was introduced for Android mobile phones. The tool provides information, legislation and jurisprudence from countries related to the Agreement in a user-friendly and accessible manner.

Twenty-two countries have signed the Agreement, representing two-thirds of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Six have ratified the Agreement, and three have completed their internal processes toward ratification. The Agreement will enter into force once 11 countries have ratified it. 

The SDG Knowledge Hub coverage of the negotiation process leading to the adoption of the Agreement can be found here. [ECLAC Press Release] [Escazú Agreement Website] [Video Summary of the Event (in Spanish)] [The Access Initiative]

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