Delegates from the governments of Latin American and Caribbean countries negotiating a regional agreement on access to environmental information, participation and justice (Principle 10 of the Rio de Janeiro Declaration on Environment and Development) will meet in San José, Costa Rica, to conclude negotiations on this legal instrument, the 1st of its kind in the region.

The 9th Meeting of the Negotiating Committee of the Regional Agreement on Principle 10 will be held from today February 28th to March 4th. It will be inaugurated at 09:00 hours by José Luis Samaniego, Director of the Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, and representatives of the public. This act will take part at the Real Intercontinental Hotel in the Costa Rican capital. The meeting will be closed on Sunday, March 4th, with a high-level session in which Luis Guillermo Solís, President of Costa Rica, and Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC will participate.

Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), from June 20th to 22nd, 2012, ten governments of Latin America and the Caribbean promoted the Declaration on the Application of Principle 10 of the Declaration of Rio on Environment and Development, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the rights of access to information, participation, and justice in environmental matters, expressed their willingness to move towards a regional instrument that would promote their full application and requested support of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to act as Technical Secretariat. The Declaration currently has 23 signatory countries and is open to accession by all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level.  At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, including information hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes. States shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings, including redress and remedy, shall be provided”.

Principle 10 seeks to ensure that everyone has access to information, participates in decision-making and accesses justice in environmental matters, in order to guarantee the right to a healthy and sustainable environment for present and future generations.  Since May 2015, 8 meetings have been held, in the last one held in Santiago from November 27th to December 1st, 2017, the countries agreed to make their best efforts to conclude the negotiation at the 9th Meeting of the Committee of Negotiation, which they agreed to celebrate in San José, under the auspices of the Government of Costa Rica. In accordance with the above, the purpose of the 9th meeting is to continue the negotiation of the regional agreement from the 8th version of the text compiled by the Board of Directors and to examine all pending matters with the expectation of concluding and adopting the text of the agreement, therefore, the expectations are that the definitive text will be finalized and the regional agreement finally signed.

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