In April 2013, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC, or CEPAL in Spanish) led negotiations toward regional approval of Principle 10, a key measure of the Rio Declaration that supports public access to information, participation, and justice in environmental issues. CIEL has been engaged in the proceedings since the beginning.
Principle 10 is a political commitment made by national governments in the region to work to ensure that all people in Latin America and the Caribbean can meaningfully participate in the environmental decisions that impact them. This agreement would help citizens to obtain information, participate in decision-making, and prevent projects that would harm livelihoods. So far, Principle 10 is a guide for countries, but not a requirement.
The Declaration on the Application of Principle 10 would legally bind signatory governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to the stipulations of Principle 10 and is essential for countless small, isolated communities in the region whose inhabitants depend on the natural environment for their livelihood. At subsequent talks in November 2014, signatory countries decided to pursue the creation of proper, safeguarding legislation.
Thus far, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay have all signed the Declaration. Antigua and Barbuda, Nicaragua, and Saint Lucia attended and participated in the meeting, though representatives have yet to sign the agreement.
Negotiators agreed on a December 2016 deadline for the development of a regional instrument meant to support countries in Principle 10’s implementation.