Due to the recent news about the ratification of the Escazú Agreement in Peru, it is necessary to provide the necessary information so that the population has a better understanding of this legal instrument.
The Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Affairs in Latin America and the Caribbean, better known as the Escazú Agreement, is an international treaty on the protection of the environment that was signed by 22 countries to meet the needs of their regions in environmental matters to improve democracy and transparency with which these issues are addressed in their respective nations.
Among the criteria outlined in the agreement are the free access to environmental information, public participation in environmental decision-making processes, and guaranteeing the safety of environmental defenders.
The implementation of this Agreement could be very beneficial for our country since this treaty seeks to include the opinion of the citizens of all of Peru in decision-making before carrying out projects that have to do with environmental resources in our country. This would benefit the resolution of socio-environmental conflicts by integrating the excluded communities in the projects related to the environment that are carried out in their regions.
According to the Monthly Report of Social Conflicts No. 195 issued by the Ombudsman’s Office during May this year, it is reported that 80.2% of the social conflicts that are still active to date are socio-environmental, therefore The ratification of the Escazú Agreement in our country could calm such conflicts and favor dialogue between the State and the people.
In this regard, the Minister of the Environment, Fabiola Muñoz, affirmed that this Agreement would be beneficial for the country and requested the understanding of the companies since the treaty «does not go against investment» and that even the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development (OCED) is favorable in its implementation and recommends signing it.
«This agreement strengthens Peru’s position, it does not weaken it. I think companies should understand better than if we protect environmental defenders, if we give the right to participation, if we have more transparency, we will avoid conflicts,» he said on Peru TV.
It should be remembered that Peru signed the Agreement in 2018 at the headquarters of the United Nations. And in August 2019, the President and the Chancellor of the Republic sent the draft Legislative Resolution to the Congress of the Republic, along with a document that supported the importance of its ratification.
11 countries in the region are required to ratify this Agreement for it to enter into force. To date, only 9 have.