Officials from the countries that signed the declaration on the application of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development—regarding access to information, public participation and justice in environmental matters—along with representatives of international organizations and civil society concluded on Thursday, October 29, 2015 in Panama the second round of negotiations to advance towards a regional agreement on these subjects.
The Second Meeting of the Negotiating Committee on the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean was organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the government of Panama.
At the end of the meeting, the delegates agreed to draft a second version of the text that was compiled by the Committee’s Presiding Officers and to continue negotiating articles 2 through 10 of that document during a third meeting of the negotiating committee, which will be held on April 5-8, 2016 in Uruguay.
The closing session of the gathering in Panama was headed by Emilio Sempris, the Panamanian Deputy Environment Minister, and Joseluis Samaniego, Director of ECLAC’s Division of Sustainable Development and Human Settlements.
In the final document that details the agreements reached at this second meeting, participants thanked the people and government of Panama for their hospitality and their efforts to organize the event. They also agreed to continue considering proposed modalities for public participation in the negotiating committee, as well as to hold a fourth meeting of this entity in the future at a place and time to be determined.
Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development aims to ensure that every person has access to information, participates in decision-making and can access justice in environmental matters, with the goal of guaranteeing the right to a healthy and sustainable environment for present and future generations.
ECLAC holds the technical secretariat of the process for negotiating a regional agreement on these subjects. The talks are expected to conclude by December 2016 at the latest.