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Senate approves the Escazú Agreement on environmental matters

The Mexican Senate approved this Thursday, unanimously, the Escazú Agreement, a regional instrument on access to information, public participation and justice in environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, and its interpretative declarations.

In a statement, the Senate indicated that the agreement, backed by 66 votes, was sent to the Federal Executive for constitutional purposes.

The agreement was signed on March 4, 2018 in the Costa Rican city of Escazú, and Mexico signed it on September 27 of that year.

For it to enter into force, it requires 11 countries to ratify it.

The instrument aims to “guarantee the full and effective implementation in Latin America and the Caribbean of the rights of access to information and environmental justice.”

It also seeks public participation in environmental decision-making processes, as well as the creation and strengthening of capacities and cooperation.

On the other hand, it aims to contribute to the protection of the right of each person and of present and future generations, to live in a healthy environment and to sustainable development.

In addition, it incorporates guidelines for the States Parties to promote and promote transparency, public participation in decision-making and in any action or omission that affects the environment, or contravenes any legal norm related to this matter.

It also establishes the commitment of each party to guarantee a safe and conducive environment in which people, groups and organizations that promote and defend human rights in environmental matters can act without threats, restrictions and insecurity.

To do this, it calls for “the implementation of adequate and effective measures to recognize, protect and promote rights, including life, personal integrity, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to assembly and association, among others.”

The Senate recalled that the Agreement is the result of a two-year preparatory phase and nine meetings of the Negotiating Committee, in which Mexico actively participated, sharing proposals, experiences, and good practices.

This resulted in the adoption of an agreement that strengthens the regulatory frameworks of the countries of the region and encourages sustainable development with greater well-being, inclusion and equality.

The opinion specified that the Mexican State made interpretative declarations of the concepts “damage” and “significant damage” to maintain consistency between them and the national legal framework.

In particular, it seeks coherence with legislation on transparency and access to public information, as well as ecological balance and protection of the environment.