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First Regional Agreement on Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean Will Open for Signature and Ratification during the UN General Assembly

The ceremony will be held on Thursday, September 27 at the global organization’s headquarters in New York.

13 September 2018|Press Release

The Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (the Escazú Agreement) will open for the signature of all the countries in the region on Thursday, September 27 at United Nations headquarters in New York, in the framework of the general debate of the 73rd session of the global organization’s General Assembly.

The Escazú Agreement – so named because it was adopted last March 4 in the municipality of Escazú in Costa Rica – is the region’s first environmental agreement and is the only one of its kind in the world, since it includes specific provisions regarding defenders of human rights in environmental matters. It is the first legal instrument to have emerged thus far from the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Río+20).

The official opening for signature ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in the Treaty Event Area (“Kuwaiti Boat Area”) in the building of the UN General Assembly.

The ceremony will be headed by the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, Miguel de Serpa Soares, and will include participants such as the Vicepresident and Minister of Foreign Relations and Cult of Costa Rica -the country where the Agreement was adopted- Epsy Campbell Barr, the prime ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Vicepresidents of Guyana and Panama, along with other Foreign Affairs Ministers and Ministers of the region, totaling more than 20 countries of the region, as well as Alicia Bárcena, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which holds the Technical Secretariat of the Agreement.

From September 27 onward, any State that has signed the Regional Agreement will be able to ratify, accept or approve it. Ratification, acceptance or approval can be undertaken immediately after the signature. To enter into force, the Agreement will require 11 States Parties.

In addition to the official delegations from signatory countries, other potential participants in the ceremony include intergovernmental organizations and related entities that have observer status with the General Assembly, as well as non-governmental organizations that are in consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The Escazú Agreement seeks to ensure that all persons have access to timely and reliable information, can participate in an effective way in the decisions that affect their lives and their environment, and can access justice in environmental matters, thereby contributing to the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“This is an agreement made by us, for us and the generations to come. It is a visionary instrument, without precedent, a second-generation environmental treaty because it explicitly links environmental matters with human rights and guarantees procedural rights that are essential for adequately implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, indicated.

As of today, the following countries have confirmed that they will sign the agreement: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Uruguay. Other six countries of the region are presently processing their confirmation.

After the signature ceremony, a press conference will be held at 11:30 a.m. in conference room S-237 on the second floor of the UN Secretariat building, with the participation of Alicia Bárcena and Epsy Campbell Barr, among other authorities.

Also on Thursday, September 27, the event “Early Ratification of the Escazú Agreement: Regional action on Environmental Democracy to fulfill the vision of the 2030 SDG Agenda” will take place at the Open Society Foundation’s headquarters in New York (6:00 – 9 p.m.). Organized jointly by ECLAC, the governments of Chile and Costa Rica and the organizations The Access Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean, Open Society Foundation, Namati, World Resources Institute, Amnesty International, Civicus and DAR (Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales), this event aims to promote dialogue and inspire countries to sign, ratify and implement the Escazú Agreement.

For more information and access to the text of the Agreement, visit www.cepal.org/en/escazuagreement

Observatory on Principle 10 in Latin America and the Caribbean: https://observatoriop10.cepal.org/en

 Keep yourself informed. Register with the Regional Public Mechanism at this link.

Media outlets that want to gain access to the opening for signature ceremony must have previously obtained proper press accreditation from the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit of the United Nations Department of Public Information (http://www.un.org/en/media/accreditation/).

 

What: Official opening for signature ceremony of the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (the Escazú Agreement).

Who:

  • Representatives of countries of the region.
  • Representatives of intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and entities with observer status before the UN General Assembly.
  • Representatives of the public participanting in the process.

Speakers:

  • Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel.
  • Epsy Campbell Barr, Vicepresident and Minister of Foreign Relations and Cult of Costa Rica.
  • Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary.

When: Thursday, September 27, 2018, 10 a.m.

Where: Treaty Event Area (“Kuwaiti Boat Area”) in the building of the UN General Assembly, New York.

Press conference (Thursday 27 September, 11:30 a.m., conference room S-237 of the UN Secretariat building):

  • Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary.
  • Epsy Campbell Barr, Vicepresident and Minister of Foreign Relations and Cult of Costa Rica.

 

For queries, contact ECLAC’s Public Information Unit.

Email: prensa@cepal.org; Telephone: (56) 22210 2040.

 

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