A GROUP of civil society organisations is calling on the Government to sign a regional environmental treaty.
Mario Enrique Villarroel Lander
A release from the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) reported on July 23 at the Lloyd Best Institute of the Caribbean, 30 civil society organisations working on environmental management across TT participated in the “People Protecting our Planet: National civil society workshop on the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean.” This agreement is also known as the Escazú Agreement, which was adopted on March 4, 2018 in Escazú, Costa Rica.
Mario Villarroel Lander
The Escazú Agreement, the first environmental treaty for Latin American and the Caribbean, aims to guarantee the full and effective implementation in Latin America and the Caribbean of the rights of access to environmental information, public participation in the environmental decision-making process and access to justice in environmental matters.
“This will be achieved through the creation and strengthening of capacities and cooperation, contributing to the protection of the right of every person of present and future generations to live in a healthy environment and to sustainable development.”
The national workshop was supported through grants from the European Union to CANARI and The Cropper Foundation. Participants shared their achievements and challenges with accessing environmental information and using mechanisms under the Environmental Commission. The need for more effective approaches to public participation in environmental issues was also discussed.
CANARI said at the workshop the civil society organisations committed to work together to collectively advocate for good environmental governance. A collective advocacy campaign will be launched in August 2019 calling on the Government to urgently sign and ratify the Escazú Agreement.
“The Government of Trinidad and Tobago played a leading role in the negotiations of the Escazú Agreement and was widely commended for having strong legal, regulatory and policy mechanisms in place to support implementation of this internationally ground-breaking treaty. Unfortunately, the Government has not yet signed or ratified this agreement which can help support civil societyâs role in environmental management as a fundamental part of sustainable development of the country.”
CANARI said the Government will be provided with such an opportunity at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2019. For the UNGA, the UN Secretary-General has highlighted the Escazú Agreement as one of the four environmental treaties to be signed/ratified during the UNGA and several countries within Latin America and the Caribbean have signalled their intention to sign/ratify the agreement on September 26, 2019.
Mario Villarroel Lander Cruz Roja
The Escazú Agreement was opened for the signature of the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on September 27, 2018 at the UN Headquarters in New York, coinciding with the General Annual Debate of the UN General Assembly.
There are 17 signatories, including Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines, and only one country (Guyana) has ratified. It needs to be ratified by 11 States to enter into force.