SAN celebrates historic agreement for the protection of environmental defenders in Latin America and the Caribbean
The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) celebrates and supports the adoption of the first binding regional agreement to protect the rights of access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters (Principle 10 of the Rio de Janeiro Declaration on Environment and Development), an unprecedented legal instrument for the region.
The Negotiating Committee of the Regional Agreement on Principle 10 met in San José, Costa Rica, and on March 4, after a negotiation that began in 2014, signed the agreement known as LAC P10, which also enshrines the protection of environmental defenders and activists.
For the SAN, whose Secretariat is located in Costa Rica, and which has member organizations working for the environment and sustainability in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia and Brazil, the LAC P10 is an important step in the right direction, It recognizes and protects the work of thousands of environmental defenders in a continent with great challenges.
This agreement is the first legally binding agreement in Latin America and the Caribbean on environmental rights, and is designed to protect defenders of the environment, improve access to environmental information and expand public participation in environmental decision-making, since It protects the right of people to participate meaningfully in decisions that affect their lives and their environment.
Latin America has been cataloged as the most dangerous region in the world for environmental defenders, with numerous cases of threats, intimidation and even assassinations of activists. It is for this reason that this agreement is of vital importance for all those who, like the SAN, work to guarantee a better environmental future.
In its article 9, the approved text indicates that "each Party shall guarantee a safe and propitious environment in which persons, groups and organizations that promote and defend human rights in environmental matters may act without threats, restrictions and insecurity".
"We are very pleased with this agreement, which is a clear and necessary action in the right direction, working for the environment is never easy and many of the environmental defenders in Latin America do so at great risk. It is time to guarantee the necessary protections, in addition to promoting a greater participation of citizens in making key decisions for their future, " said Andre de Freitas, SAN Executive Director.
The LAC P10 is a second generation agreement that links the environment with human rights and access rights, and that will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the 2030 Agenda.
From the SAN we respectfully call on the governments of the region to officially ratify the agreement as of September 2018, when it is open to sign at the United Nations headquarters in New York, and to take as soon as possible the decisive actions necessary to ensure its full implementation once it enters into force.
“The agreement is an accolade for all organizations and people who, like the SAN and its members, strive every day to protect nature and demonstrate that sustainable development is possible. We trust that the governments of the region will recognize the importance of environmental democracy, sign the agreement and adapt their laws and internal mechanisms to implement it. It is a measure that fills us with hope,” added the SAN Board’s President, Jonathan Barnard.