TAI in Latin America: Working for Rio+20
Nov 17, 2011
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The Access Initiative in Latin America has a group of partners from 7 countries who are working in a coordinated way for Rio +20.

The Preparatory Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean, which was held September 7-9 at the headquarters of ECLAC in Santiago, Chile, was one of the major steps in influencing governments in creating Regional Conventions for P10.

The 8 representatives of the Access Initiative [1] that participated in the preparatory meeting set goals to first achieve visibility between the Access Initiative, representatives of government and CSO participants of the meeting. Secondly, to establish direct contact with representatives of government and intergovernmental agencies such as ECLAC, the OAS and UNEP in order to elevate the importance of America Convention for the implementation of P10. These actions were disseminated through press releases in English and Spanish, facebook, twitter and the websites of participating organizations.

The second day of work already revealed states’ lack of political will to commit to a policy statement or to establish principles and commitments assumed by governments in the face of the Summit. They began to create a climate of frustration between representatives of the CSOs. In this sense, the network considered it appropriate to make a statement criticizing the situation and encouraging countries to make concrete commitments.

For this preparatory meeting, ECLAC prepared a proposed Declaration of Santiago, incorporating the Access Initiative’s proposition to explore a Regional Convention on Principle 10. However, this statement was not approved because some governments said they had no knowledge of it prior to the meeting and stated “we want to approve something on which we disagree.” In any case, the incorporation of the proposed Regional Convention is the product of the strategic alliance between ECLAC and the Regional Coordination of TAI.

The topic that generated the most controversy in government dialogue was the green economy, rejected emphatically by countries belonging to the group of ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America) among those who are Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela .The members of ALBA consider what one wants to accomplish concerning green economy is to introduce market mechanisms into the world of technology from developed countries.

Governments made long speeches highlighting the implemented measures aimed at sustainable development, and the “gaps” in its implementation, but with a little attitude and less self reflective. For example, no one referred to the major environmental conflicts in the region as a result of the intensified exploitation of natural resources, especially minerals.

One of the more concrete proposals was the delegation of Colombia and Guatemala, which proposed to create and track the objectives of sustainable development based on Agenda 21, with indicators and similar terms to the Millennium Development Goals.

As a result, this PREP COM produced a conclusive document in which the old Latin American countries reaffirmed commitments to sustainable development and other statements that were approved at previous meetings of the United Nations. However, it is important to note that this document refers to “the full implementation of the rights of access to information, participation and environmental justice enshrined in Principle 10 of Rio Declaration”. This shows that lobbying by TAI has been successful.

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________________________________________ [1] Veronica Cipolatti - Foundation Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA), Argentina.Teresa Flores - Prodefensa Association of Nature (PRODENA), Bolivia, Ana Lucia Maya Aguirre - American Institute for Law Society and an Alternative (ILSA), Colombia. Patricia Solis Madrigal and Vivienne - Co Solidar, Costa Rica, Andrea Sanhueza and Paula Fuentes - Corporación Participa, Chile, Paola Vasconi - Terram Foundation Chile, Olimpia Castillo Blanco - Communication and Environmental Education SC - Mexico.,, Gabriela Muñoz - Ecuadorian Center Environmental Law (CEDA), Ecuador.

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