ECLAC reiterates call for Caribbean countries to ratify Escaz˙ Agreement

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ECLAC reiterates call for Caribbean countries to ratify Escaz˙ Agreement

Thursday, May 02, 2019

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SANTIAGO, Chile (CMC) — The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has reiterated its call on regional countries to promptly ratify the Escaz˙ Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters.

ECLAC said the call was echoed by officials from various countries, along with representatives of international bodies and civil society organisations,á during a high-level workshop at ECLAC's headquarters here, as part of the third meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development.

The regional workshop on progress and challenges in relation to implementation of the Escaz˙ Agreement in Latin America and the Caribbean, “Toward an Early Entry into Force,” was organised jointly by ECLAC and the government of Costa Rica.

ECLAC's Executive Secretary, Alicia Bßrcena, said that “2019 will be a year of particular relevance for multilateralism, since various international conferences of great importance will be held.”

She said these include the United Nations High-level Political Forum, the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Summit at the level of Heads of State and Government, the Climate Summit, and the Review of the SAMOA Pathway for Small Island Developing States — all will take place in September at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

In this context, Bßrcena said the Escaz˙ Agreement “acquires even greater significance as a catalyst for the 2030 Agenda and climate action.”

The treaty, which was opened for the signature of all Latin American and Caribbean countries on September 27, 2018 in the framework of the United Nations General Assembly, has already been signed by 16 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St Lucia and Uruguay. It was ratified by Guyana on April 18.

“The Escaz˙ Agreement is a citizens' agreement, made by and for people,” Bßrcena said. “It recognizes and develops essential democratic rights and places equality at the center of development, seeking to incorporate all the sectors of our society to tackle environmental challenges of such magnitude as climate change, natural disasters, desertification and the loss of biodiversity.

“In addition, it is the first treaty in the world that protects the human rights of environmental activists,” she added. “At ECLAC, we feel deeply proud of and committed to this agreement, and we will continue accompanying the processes for signature and ratification, with the hope of attaining its prompt entry into force and implementation.”

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