NATIONAL

Costa Rica champions environmental democracy as foreign policy

By Joel Lee
  • Published : Aug 27, 2018 - 21:25
  • Updated : Aug 27, 2018 - 21:26
The Costa Rican government promotes its foreign policy of environmental democracy as a main pillar of regional cooperation under the framework of the Organization of American States, according to its embassy in Seoul.

On Wednesday, Costa Rican Vice Foreign Minister Lorena Aguilar Revelo participated in the OAS extraordinary session in Washington -- the multilateral institution’s headquarters -- where participants discussed ties between human rights and the environment as advocated by the Escazu Agreement.

The accord -- also known as the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin American and Caribbean countries -- was adopted in Costa Rica in April by 24 Latin American and Caribbean countries. The embassy said it was one of the most important environmental human rights accords created over the last two decades.

It seeks to guarantee the rights of all inhabitants of these nations to access public information, include them more effectively in the decision-making over their lives and safeguard and promote environmental justice. In doing so, it aims to help implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Aguilar, as a keynote speaker, highlighted the importance of a healthy and ecologically balanced environment for human rights, as well as the evolution of human rights and its impact on progress toward more open, transparent and participatory societies.

Furthermore, the minister expressed sympathy over the plight of women activists, many of whom were killed in their “struggle for sustainable, fair and equitable development.”

The agreement is the only treaty created out of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as “Rio+20.” It is also the first regional environmental treaty among Latin American and Caribbean countries, and the first one with binding provisions for human rights activists in environmental matters.

The agreement will be open for signature by the member states at the 73rd UN General Assembly on Sept. 27 in New York. It will then be subject to ratification by the 11 signatory countries before entering into force.

Costa Rica will begin preparations to try to secure the agreement’s early entry into force.

By Joel Lee (joel@heraldcorp.com)