By Renato Morgado (Posted: May 14, 2014)
The challenges of environmental democracy in Brazil and the process to elaborate a regional agreement about Principle 10 in the LAC region were discussed in a virtual meeting last Wednesday (7).
Organized by The Access Initiative, WRI and Article 19, the meeting had 25 participants, representatives from 18 organizations, including environmentalist organizations and networks,transparency and access to information organizations as well as representatives from lawyers and public environmental prosecutors.
Initially the process of the last two years was presented, in which governments and civil society in Latin America and the Caribbean have been discussing the construction of a regional agreement on Principle 10 (access to participation, information and justice in environmental matters).
After this presentation, a discussion about the challenges of environmental democracy in Brazil and how the Brazilian society can participate more actively on this regional process was held.
The theme’s importance was highlighted by participants. Carolle Utrera Alarcon, from Instituto de Conservação e Desenvolvimento Sustentável do Amazonas (Idesam), stated: “The participation and transparency culture in Brazil and in the region contributes to the democratic improvement and to the protection of the environment and human rights.”
Pedro Jacobi, professor and researcher at University of Sao Paulo with extensive experience in the subject, considers that the construction of the regional agreement is very relevant. According to him: “we will be able to set an agenda and guiding principles to advance the issue from various forms of action.”.
This opinion was shared by Silvia Capelli, environmental public prosecutor in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and coordinator for the Latin American Network of Environmental Public Prosecutors. According to her: “It is fundamental with a regional agreement for the improvement of environmental democracy, given the common circumstances and problems among the countries”.
The meeting was evaluated as good for the participants. For Carolle: “It was an excellent meeting and enabled the gathering of people from different action fields, experiences and regions, it allowed the sharing of the process about the regional agreement and the mobilization around the debate”.
Some referrals were defined at the end of the meeting: the participation of citizens and organizations in the official process, coordinated by CEPAL; the contribution of suggestions and comments, for the TAI proposals about the regional agreement; Dissemination of information about the process; and Other further meetings to deepen the debate about this theme.