ECLAC and the OECS Establish an Enhanced Programme of Action on the Escazú Agreement in the Eastern Caribbean

The Executive  Secretary of  United  Nations  Economic  Commission  for  Latin  America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Ms. Alicia Bárcena, and the Director-General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean   States   (OECS),   Dr.   Didacus   Jules,   signed   a   Memorandum   of   Understanding establishing  an  “Enhanced  Programme  of  Action  on  the  Escazú  Agreement  in  the  Eastern Caribbean.”

 

The   programme   recognizes   the   Escazú  Agreement   as   a   fundamental  contribution   to  the implementation  of  international  commitments  of  OECS  Member  States,  such  as  the  UN  2030

Agenda  on  Sustainable  Development,  the  OECS  Revised  Treaty  of  Basseterre,  and  the  Saint

George’s Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability.

 

The  Memorandum  states  that  ECLAC  and  the  OECS  intend  to  reinforce  the  environmental dimension of sustainable development in the Eastern Caribbean though the Escazú Agreement by facilitating policy formulation, technical cooperation, training and capacity-building and strategic advocacy and awareness, among others. In particular, both institutions commit to elaborating joint studies,  publications,  reports  and  analytical  work,  as  well  as  provide  technical  assistance  to Member States and organize joint activities in support of the environmental dimension of the 2030

Agenda.

 

Dr. Didacus Jules said, “The OECS has been a consistent proponent that sustainable development in the Eastern Caribbean is based on responsible decision-making, which considers not only the economic  benefits  of  development,  but  also  the  importance  of  pursuing  a  balance  between economic  growth,  social  well-being  and  the  health  of  the  environment.  This  partnership  with ECLAC  for  promotion  and  implementation  of  the  Escazú  Agreement  provides  an  excellent platform and framework for advancing the aspirations of our Small Island Developing States,”

 

The  ECLAC-OECS  Enhanced  Programme  of  Action  on  the  Escazú  Agreement  will  have  a renewable duration of three years.

 

The Escazu agreement which was adopted on 4th March, 2018 sets out three fundamental rights. It  seeks  to  give  citizens  more  comprehensive  access  to  information  on  environmental  issues, including   all   major   development   projects.   It   promotes   greater   citizen   participation   in environmental decisions as it affords citizens greater access to justice in environmental matters and it aims to prevent, investigate and punish all attacks against defenders of environmental rights.

 

The  Escazu  agreement  is  the  only  binding  agreement  stemming  from  the  United  Nations Conference  on  Sustainable  Development  (Rio+20)  making  it  the  first  regional  environmental agreement  of  Latin  America  and  the  Caribbean  and  the  first  in  the  world  containing  specific provisions on environmental human rights defenders.

 

The Escazú Agreement has been signed by five of the six independent States of the OECS and ratified by three of them (Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines). Saint Kitts and Nevis ratified the agreement on 29th  September, 2019.