GCAP Statement about the Eszazú Agreement:
September 26th 2020 marked the limit for Latin American and Caribbean states to sign the Escazú Agreement. The final number of countries that signed the agreement was 24. 10 countries ratified the agreement; whereas 11 countries must ratify the agreement before it enters into force.
The Escazú Agreement is a binding regional instrument that seeks to comply with Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and its main purpose: to guarantee the full and effective fulfilment of rights of access to information, public participation and justice in environmental matters, access to justice when relates to the environment and the protection of those who defend the environment. This last element is crucial for the region, taking into account that according to the Global Witnnes Report 2019, it is the most dangerous region in the world to defend the environment and the earth.
The signing, ratification and implementation of the Escazú Agreement in the region is a unique opportunity to advance democracy and environmental governance, thereby guaranteeing the protection of the natural commons and the environmental rights of people; special attention must be given to groups and individuals who face conditions of vulnerability, a key aspect to ensure that no one is left behind.
From the civil society networks, social movements and citizen spaces that are promoting the implementation of the Escazú Agreement, we make an urgent call to the States of the Latin American and Caribbean region to ratify or adhere to the Agreement in order to provide countries with a robust instrument to advance democracy and environmental governance. The environmental and climate crisis we have faced for decades and now the COVID pandemic, highlights the urgency of working to care for nature in order to ensure the health of the planet and of humanity.
The entry into force of the Escazú Agreement would send a strong message to national and international public opinion about the region’s commitment to human rights in environmental matters and would create opportunities for International Cooperation, South-South and Triangular Cooperation in environmental matters towards the realization of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
It is necessary for the region to boost its level of ethical commitment and political will to protect the environment, to strengthen the environmental dimension of national policies. International commitments by states must be a priority to ensure good public management and best practice are applied by and states and governments in the region.