ECLAC7 May 2015: The first meeting of the Negotiating Committee for a regional agreement in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) on access to information, public participation and justice in environmental matters (Principle 10 of Rio Declaration in LAC) brought together representatives from the signatory countries of the Rio Declaration. Delegates adopted the Committee’s Work Plan, and agreed to begin negotiations at its second meeting.

The negotiations will be based on a preliminary document prepared by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), as well as consultations and inputs received. The future regional agreement is to be agreed by December 2016.

During the first meeting of the Negotiating Committee of the Regional Instrument on access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters, which convened from 5-7 May 2015, in Santiago, Chile, delegates agreed to: present their observations on the document to ECLAC, which is supporting the process as the technical secretariat, by 31 August 2015; and negotiate, based on a revised text, during the second meeting of the Negotiating Committee for a Regional Agreement on Principle 10, which will take place in October 2015, in Panama.

The main objective of the regional instrument is to strengthen environmental governance and “protect the right to live in a healthy and sustainable environment through the effective application in the region of the rights of access consecrated in Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration,” with an emphasis on cooperation and strengthened capacities to help countries improve related laws, policies, institutions and practices.

With Antigua and Barbuda signing onto the Declaration on Principle 10, the number of LAC countries committing to the process increased to 20. The process is open to all LAC countries.

The Declaration on the Application of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in LAC was signed at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), in June 2012. In signing onto the Declaration, countries agree to work towards a regional instrument on the rights of access to environmental information, participation and justice.

To date, signatory countries include Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. [ECLAC Press Release] [Meeting Website] [Negotiating Committee Website] [Preliminary Document of the Regional Instrument on Access to Information, Participation and Justice on Environmental Matters in LAC]