During the past two weeks, Antigua & Barbuda, Nicaragua and Panama ratified the Escazú Agreement, giving a major boost to the unprecedented and innovative Latin American pact that seeks to reduce social conflicts and protect frontline communities in the world’s deadliest region for environmental defenders.
The move means only three more ratifications are needed for the regional agreement to enter into force. The agreement initially opened for signatures during the UN General Assembly in September 2018 following three years of negotiations under the supervision of the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Fourteen more countries are pending ratification. This includes Colombia, which eventually signed in December 2019, revising its original resistance to the pact after mounting public pressure and protests.
The rationale behind the Escazú Agreement is that access to information in Latin America remains poor, there is widespread impunity for crimes against environmental defenders, and communities’ right to consultation on the impacts of large development projects are often disrespected.
So why is the agreement still important, and what progress has it made?
The journalistic project ‘Land of Resistants’, which brought together more than 35 journalists from seven countries, investigated the situation facing environmental defenders in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. It found:
[This article originally appeared on Diálogo Chino and is republished under a Creative Commons license.]
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous parallels have been drawn between this health crisis and the climate crisis. Science plays an important role in advising decision makers on how to ensure sustainable crisis management and a precautionary approach to avoid harmful repercussions, particularly where we do not yet know all the consequences of our actions. [...]
Decarbonisation won’t come as fast as the pandemic. But if fossil fuel exporters are not prepared for it, they will face an enduring crisis. The EU can help.
Stories of clear skies and wildlife conquering urban areas might provide much needed comfort during these uncertain times as the health crisis unfolds. But in Brazil, where climate and environmental issues already lack attention and resources, the pandemic underscores the next crisis.
Solutions to the current COVID-19 crisis need to be aligned to those of the climate crisis for a global transformation towards more sustainability, resilience, equity, and justice. Climate diplomacy has the tools to achieve these objectives simultaneously.