ECLAC prepares for a regional instrument on Principle 10
On March 7, 2011, Guillermo Acuña, Legal Assistant of the Office of the Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) gave a speech at a UN side event at the March 2011 preparatory meeting for the Rio 2012 Conference on Sustainable Development “Redefining sustainable development governance and increasing transparency, public participation and accountability: the Latin American and Caribbean perspective”. He drew attention to a forthcoming study by ECLAC that shows an increasing number of social-environmental conflicts in the Latin American and Caribbean region. He highlighted a concern that a large number of these conflicts are settled only when they reach the courts.
Acuña felt that a regional agreement guaranteeing access to information, public participation and access to justice (“access rights”) could greatly improve the situation and provide mechanisms for avoiding new conflicts. He urged the Latin American and Caribbean region to move towards a regional agreement on access rights. He pointed to Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration of 1992 (signed by 178 nations) which enshrines access rights.
In this regard, Acuña assured the gathering that ECLAC was fully prepared, should the Governments of the region so request, to embark upon a negotiation of a regional instrument. He stressed that ECLAC was most interested in exploring all possible means to pursue a regional agreement to enhance and legally guarantee better application of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration and its emerging rights in the region.
In the framework of the Rio 2012 UN conference on sustainable development, ECLAC believes that it is an excellent and unique opportunity to generate a clear mandate for UN regional organs to work towards regional agreements on access rights. He urged member States of ECLAC to activate a regional convention process by requesting ECLAC to mobilize its machinery to that end.
The full text of the speech is attached below.
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