Argentina Joins P10 Process
By Megan Daley (Posted: August 19, 2013)
Argentina is now a member of the Latin American and Caribbean Principle 10 Process, bringing the number of LAC countries to 15. Joining the P10 Process is expected to bring about more public participation in environmental decision making in Argentina, a country that has and continues to have issues concerning access to information, access to justice, and citizen engagement in the EIA process.
In Argentina, there is no constitutional guarantee of right to access to information or public documents. Although Article 41(2) of the Argentine Constitution requires the government to disclose environmental information to the public, classified and legally protected information is kept from citizens and it remains a contentious national issue. Thus, joining the P10 Process could encourage access to environmentally impactful information.
The EIA procedure in Argentina is one process that will benefit from the country’s upcoming participation in the P10 process. In Argentina, an environmental impact assessment is required before some environmentally detrimental activities, such as mining, but is not regulated at the federal level and not required for all activities that impact the environment. Furthermore, there are no provisions that dictate the specific scope and focus of EIA in Argentina, leaving the Argentine procedure loosely defined and applied. Similarly, no specific EIA instruments have been established.
There are also challenges in implementing public participation concerning environmental issues amongst Argentinians. The process depends on dedicated and highly involved public participation that accurately represents the public. Without the support of local or national communities, the EIA process cannot be successful. Although Argentina currently requires public hearings for projects with possible negative environmental impacts, citizen participation in the EIA process is not extensive.
Joining the Latin American and Caribbean Principle 10 Process is a step forward for environmental public participation, access to information, and a more thorough EIA procedure for Argentina.