St Lucia hosts ECLAC workshop on access rights in environmental matters

Castries, St Lucia — Representatives from Caribbean countries met on August 24-25 in Saint Lucia to identify opportunities for collective action on the path towards the full implementation of access rights to information, public participation and justice in environmental matters, enshrined in Principle 10 of the Declaration of the 1992 Rio Summit.

The meeting was organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the World Resources Institute (WRI). Participants included representatives from Caribbean countries, experts and members of civil society organizations, who will address the main challenges the sub-region faces on this matter.

The gathering was inaugurated on Monday by Diane Quarless, director of ECLAC’s sub-regional headquarters for the Caribbean; Turkessa Benjamin, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) senior legal officer; and Karetta Crooks-Charles, representative from the public of Saint Lucia.

The speakers included Carlos de Miguel, head of the Policies for Sustainable Development Unit at ECLAC’s Sustainable Development Division; Senator Maureen Payne, junior minister of justice and legal affairs in Antigua and Barbuda; Judge Winston Anderson of the Caribbean Court of Justice; Chateram Sinanan, chairman of the Environmental Commission of Trinidad and Tobago (environmental court); and Damian Cox, director of the Access to Information Unit of the Jamaican Prime Minister’s Office, among others.

At the meeting, ECLAC presented a preliminary version of the regional agreement on access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters, drafted at the request of countries from the negotiating committee on the regional accord.

In addition, during the meeting participants analyzed the challenges seen in terms of strengthening capacities and cooperation as well as countries’ specific needs for the implementation of the Bali Guidelines.

This event will be followed on Wednesday by a workshop on climate change, natural disasters and coastal vulnerability in the Caribbean, where participants will discuss topics such as access to information on climate change and the measurement of the effects of disasters and their impact on the sub-region.

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