ARTICLE 19 welcomes the decision of a group of 19 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean meeting in Santiago, Chile this week to begin negotiations on a new regional agreement on access to environmental information, public participation and justice.
“This process is crucially important to ensure that all persons in the region are able to know and participate in environmental matters that will affect their lives,” said Paula Martins, Director of ARTICLE 19 Brazil. “It will also facilitate the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The negotiations on the agreement will begin in 2015 with the expectation that it will be completed by the end of 2016. Whilst the nations are still discussing whether the agreement will be a binding treaty, the negotiations are being carried out on the basis that the final document will be a treaty rather than a non-binding declaration.
“It is essential that the final result of the negotiations is a binding treaty which gives people strong rights to demand information and participate in key development decisions. It must also protect human rights defenders who are threatened for their work,” Martins added.
For the process, Chile and Costa Rica will be the co-chairs. Importantly, the countries also agreed to include two members of civil society on the drafting group.
The process began at the Rio+20 conference in 2012 when 10 countries signed a declaration agreeing to start developing a new agreement. 19 countries have now signed the declaration, including Brasil, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Jamaica and El Salvador. The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC/CEPAL) is acting as the secretariat.
For further information and press, please contact: João Ricardo Penteado, Communications Officer for ARTICLE 19 South America; Tel +55 11 3057-0042; Email email@example.com.