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C'bean countries call for prompt entry into force of Escaz˙ Agreement

Monday, October 14, 2019

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SAN JOS╔, Costa Rica (CMC) – Latin America and Caribbean countries (LAC) that have not yet signed or ratified the Escaz˙ Agreement are being urged to do so in order to allow its “prompt entry into force”.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said that the matter had been further discussed at the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties where strategies and partnerships for achieving the legal instrument's early entry into force and implementation had been discussed.

The conference ended here over the last weekend and ECLAC said the agreement will enter into force once it obtains 11 ratifications.

“Half of these have already been achieved so far, and several countries are in the process of ratifying it,” it added.

Costa Rica's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lorena Aguilar, said the meeting on the Escaz˙ Agreement was the last of events related to the preparatory meeting for the United Nations' 25th Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (PRE COP 25).

“The Escaz˙ Agreement is a pioneering and visionary accord. It is one of the main environmental treaties in the world in the last 20 years. It is based on the premise of ensuring the protection of the environment and human rights, in a sustainable development model,” she added.

ECLAC's executive secretary, Alicia Bßrcena, said that the Escaz˙ Agreement is “an unprecedented legal instrument in our region”.

“It constitutes Latin America and the Caribbean's first regional environmental treaty, and it is the only one to have emerged out of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20),” she said.

In addition, Bßrcena said treaty is “the first in the world to establish specific provisions for the promotion, protection and defence of human rights defenders in environmental matters.

“With the ultimate goal of guaranteeing for present and future generations the right to a healthy environment through access to information, public participation and justice, the strengthening of capacities and cooperation, and by focusing on leaving no one behind, the Escaz˙ Agreement is a tangible demonstration of our region's commitment to a development model that is more egalitarian, more just and more sustainable,” she said.

The ECLAC chief congratulated the 21 countries that have already signed and/or ratified the Escaz˙ Agreement.

These include Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Uruguay.

“With their signature and ratification, the region's countries are politically and legally expressing their irrefutable commitment to rights of access, human rights and environmental protection, but, above all, to their citizens,” Bßrcena said.

She also publicly recognised Caribbean countries, noting,” we have said 'The Caribbean first,' since they have the populations that are most vulnerable to climate change, above all in coastal areas.

“They have a vital right of access to information, participation and environmental justice,” she said.


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