Latin American and Caribbean countries sign historic treaty giving environmental rights the same status as human rights | UN Environment
Within 24 hours of its opening, fourteen nations signed the Escazú Agreement; with one more signing the next day. This treaty enacts binding provisions for States to equip their citizens with information, judicial corrections and spaces for public participation in environmental matters concerning them. The Escazú Agreement’s official name is the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters.
“The fact that fourteen countries have already signed today is extraordinary” stated Epsy Campbell Barr, the Vice President of Costa Rica.
The agreement is not only the first environmental treaty for the Latin America and Caribbean region. It is also:
At the forefront of environmental democracy with only one other regional treaty on environmental democracy: Europe’s Aarhus Convention
The only treaty to have emerged from Rio+20
The first time a legal agreement includes an Article on environmental human rights defenders (Article 9)
The Latin America and Caribbean region is home to numerous multifaceted conflicts involving communities opposing business and government interest that threaten their environment,livelihoods and ancestral lands. Global Witness reports that Latin America and the Caribbean has consistently the highest number of murders of environmental defenders in the world. [...]
In an emotional ceremony at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 27 September 2018, Heads of State and ministers from the following countries signed the Agreement: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Saint Lucia and Uruguay. The Dominican Republic and Haiti added their signatures to the legal instrument later the same day and Paraguay signed on the following day.