The opportunities and next steps of the Escazú Agreement in the DR

At the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP1) of the Escazú Agreement The importance of this treaty for the protection of the environment and its defenders in the region was highlighted.

With the virtual and face-to-face participation of more than 780 delegates, organizations, panelists and representatives of civil society, the countries demonstrated at the COP their commitment to promote the agreement, to implement it by those who have ratified it and to ratify it by those who have not yet done so. have made.

Group photo of the delegates attending COP 1 of the Escazú Agreement

Group photo of the delegates attending COP 1 of the Escazú Agreement/Source: ECLAC.

Several states had very high-level representatives, headed by Chile with its president, Gabriel Boric. The Dominican Republic also had an important representation of the Vice Minister of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Milagros De Camps.

For the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) this is relevant because it is essential that the 33 countries of the region join the agreement. In this way, they could take advantage of its benefits and prevent what has been achieved from being reversed, as explained by the head of the Unit for Policies for Sustainable Development of the Agency’s Division of Sustainable Development, Human Settlements, Carlos de Miguel, during an interview with several journalists who covered the COP under the auspices of the organizations Climate Tracker and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES).

“ECLAC’s objective is precisely that for the extraordinary COP in Argentina there are more countries that are part of it,” explained De Miguel, who at the same time stressed that the organization will help the States both in the integration process and in the implementation of the agreement.

De Miguel stressed that In order for more countries to join the agreement, the positive aspects and opportunities that Escazú offers must be made known. and clarify the doubts that exist around it to generate greater certainty.

For this reason, ECLAC prepared a guide which aims to publicize the treaty and provide guidance, information and different options on how to implement it, to help States Parties and other stakeholders to understand and fully comply with the provisions established in it.

The guide was also developed with the purpose of being a support document for the States that are considering being part of the agreement, as well as a tool for the general public to better understand it.

The slow road of Escazú in the Dominican Republic

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Regarding the opportunities offered by the treaty for countries such as the Dominican Republic, which have not yet ratified it, the Dominican deputy of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), Carlos Sánchez, assures that “the Escazú Agreement will contribute to the strengthening of the juridical and legal framework for protection of the environment and natural resources; it will promote the participation of society, the expansion of environmental governance and the reduction of environmental conflicts; It will allow the implementation of agreements for the regional protection of aspects linked to the environment; Y it will facilitate foreign investment linked to sustainable development and international cooperation for the protection of the planet, among others”.

For its implementation, the country has many tasks ahead, and the first of them, of course, is the ratification by the National Congress and its promulgation by the Executive Branch. Subsequently, a body (either a commission or body) responsible for its application and follow-up should be created; prepare documents and regulations for the application of the agreement in the country; and participate in the conferences of the parties organized by the United Nations, explained Sánchez.

Sánchez, who has worked on the agreement from the beginning, believes that the main obstacle that prevents the ratification of the Escazú Agreement in the country is the refusal of the Constitutional Court (TC) to give its opinion on its constitutionality. The body should have made the decision in a period of one month but, more than a year later, it has not yet done so

When we tried to obtain a response from the TC as to why it had not complied with the procedure, they only told us that “it is in process” and that we have to wait for the process, without offering more information.

Meanwhile, some are already looking at the next news that Escazú will bring, including an extraordinary meeting that will take place in April 2023 in Argentina in order to choose the 7 members of the Application and Compliance Committee, as well as the second COP which will take place in April 2024. For this, many expect the effective participation of all the countries of the region, although time will tell if the Dominican Republic decides to join in advancing environmental democracy.

Amazon, Indigenous, Indigenous Guard, Poverty, ColombiaLatin America is the region with the most natural wealth on the planet and also where the rights of environmental defenders are most violated / Pixabay.

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