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Rights of Access in Environmental Matters Are Key to Greater Inclusion

4 November 2014|News


Photo of the participants in the Principle 10 meeting
Representatives from the region’s signatory countries of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration met at ECLAC headquarters in Santiago, Chile.
Photo: Carlos Vera/ECLAC

Representatives from the region’s signatory countries of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration—which promotes access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters—began a three-day meeting this Tuesday, November 4, at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile.

The Fourth meeting on the focal points appointed by the Governments of the signatory countries of the Declaration on the application of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean was opened by ECLAC’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Antonio Prado, who welcomed participants and invoked the importance of having a regional agreement that reinforces the rights included in Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration.

“At ECLAC we are convinced that Principle 10 is more relevant today than ever, given the fact that if citizens are able to express their opinion and demand accountability, the wider society will be capable of preventing serious environmental and health damages,” he stressed.

On behalf of the Government of Chile, Marcelo Mena, Undersecretary of Environment, and the Director of the Department of Environment at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Waldemar Coutts, underscored that the rights of access contained in Principle 10 are key to better democracy and environmental equity levels.

Peru’s ambassador to Chile, Fernando Rojas, said that citizen’s participation in these processes and access to information are urgent matters in achieving social inclusion.

Andrea Sanhueza, civil society representative, insisted that a process of public participation like this has no comparison in the region and that it will only be successful with the approval of a binding regional instrument.

After the debates end next Thursday, November 6, the delegates from 19 signatory countries of the Declaration on the Application of Principle 10—in which ECLAC holds the office of technical secretariat—are expected to approve a decision on the content agreed in the most recent working group meetings held in Costa Rica last September, launching the second negotiation phase of the regional instrument.

Media are invited to attend the event’s sessions.

The meeting will be broadcast live via Internet on ECLAC’s website