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Article | 29 Sep, 2021

Dialogue forum: Escazú Agreement, a pioneer regional environmental instrument

The Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, known as the Escazú Agreement, is of great importance; it is the first regional environmental instrument and pioneer in that it contains specific provisions for the protection of environmental activists. 

A dialogue forum within the IUCN community called  "Escazú Thursdays with IUCN" was aimed at Member organizations, experts of the Commissions, and other relevant organizations and actors interested in participating in order to find out where we stand and identify lines of work that lay down the steps to follow, specifically with regard to rights of access to information, public participation and justice in environmental matters (access rights). 

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Photo: TBD

With the recent entry into force of the Escazú Agreement on 22 April 2021, continuing and extending efforts to strengthen capacities and mechanisms that ensure the fulfilment of its objectives becomes even more relevant for the countries of our region.

Within the IUCN, the need to promote joint work was identified, taking advantage of the strengths of Members, Commissions and their experts, as well as the Secretariat to contribute to the implementation of the Agreement.

In October 2020, the IUCN membership adopted Resolution WWC-2020-Res-051, which concerns itself with the harassment and murder attempts suffered by people who defend the environment and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean, and which calls on IUCN to provide technical support and capacity building, share materials, as well as promote events and activities to foster the implementation of the Agreement. 

In this regard, the Regional Committees of the Caribbean, Mesoamerica and South America, the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP),  the Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (ORMACC, in  Spanish), and Alianza de Derecho Ambiental y Agua joined their efforts and capacities to hold the first dialogue forum within the IUCN community entitled  "Escazú Thursdays with IUCN."

Escazu Agreement       Photo: TBD
This was aimed at both member organizations and  experts of the Commissions, and other relevant organizations and actors interested  in participating in order to find out where we stand and identify lines of work that  lay down the steps to follow, specifically with regard to rights of access to information,  public participation and justice in environmental matters (access rights). 

Escazú Thursdays with IUCN, which attracted more than 200 people from 20  countries in the region, were presented as a core activity to gather information,  identify tools, and expand the community that drives the Escazú Agreement, and as  a platform for outlining the design and creation of joint initiatives to contribute to the  successful implementation of the Agreement’s objectives. 

The report is a synthesis of the five sessions of "Escazú Thursdays with IUCN",  including the objectives and methodology that determined the content and dynamics  of the sessions, as well as a final section that motivates us to move forward and take the next steps in developing and implementing projects and initiatives that promote  access rights in our region. 

The recording of the first session is available below. Join the CEESP YouTube channel Escazú Thursdays playlist in order to find and watch all five sessions.