Eleven countries have ratified the Escazú Agreement, which means it will enter into force in early 2021. It is the only binding agreement derived from Rio+20 and the first environmental agreement adopted by the Latin American and Caribbean region. As such, and in a context where multilateralism is being challenged, will it deliver on its promises of environmental policy and democracy in the region and beyond? To date, 24 countries have signed it4 and it has been ratified by 11 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Uruguay; And more recently, Argentina and Mexico5 The agreement will enter into force 90 days after the 11th ratification (Mexico). However, since its adoption in 2018, the signature and ratification process has been quite slow, partly due to political changes in the region6, the covid-19 crisis and the delay in ratification processes in legislative bodies resulting from lobbying by private sector representatives and the dissemination of imprecise arguments that have led to confusion about the potential impact of this agreement on country after ratification. they were able to lead.7 Paradoxically, Chile, which was one of its flag bearers, has neither signed nor ratified the agreement. Costa Rica, which has played an important role in the negotiations, has not yet ratified. Colombia, which has also participated very actively in the negotiations, has not yet ratified it, dethough it is the country that reported the highest number of assassinations of environmental leaders in the world in 2019.8 As a follow-up to the Aarhus Convention1, signed 22 years ago, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean agreed at Rio+20 in 2012, launch a negotiation process aimed at implementing rights in principle in the region. 10 of the Rio Declaration.2 After more than four years of unprecedented negotiations – significant participation of representatives of civil society and countless experts in environmental and human rights law – the regional agreement3 was adopted in Escazú (Costa Rica) on 4 March 2018. The main value of the agreement lies in its multilateral nature, which provides a common framework that lays the foundations for environmental democracy in the region and promotes cooperation and capacity-building among States to assist the least developed countries in this area.
One of the most important provisions is that Escazú recognizes the right of every human being to live in a healthy environment and the obligation to ensure that the rights set forth in the agreement are exercised freely. It provides for the adoption of legislative, administrative, administrative and other measures to ensure the implementation of the Agreement, in accordance with the specific capacities of the Contracting Parties and domestic laws9, the provision of information to the public in order to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge on access rights and the obligation to guide and support the public, in particular vulnerable persons and groups. The Escazú Agreement is a step forward in international environmental law in Latin America and the Caribbean by emphasizing the importance of public participation (active participation, access to information and justice) for the management of environmental issues. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), 23 countries have adopted, at the regional level, laws on access to information with regard to the rights set out in the Escazú Agreement: 76% of them support the implementation of defensive measures.10 Mexico has the most robust regulations in the region. irrelevant, the assertion that the treaty is not necessary, given that countries already have sufficient national legislation to regulate these rights. . . .