By Carrie McKee (Posted: July 16, 2012)
Q: What is Corporación Participa?
Participa is a Chilean NGO focused on democracy and human rights. It was founded 25 years ago as democracy was recovered in Chile. Participa works on issues around human rights, public participation, and access to information advocacy in Chile, and has been involved with The Access Initiative (TAI) since its inception.
Q: What is Participa’s involvement in initiating a regional convention on Principle 10?
During the TAI 2010 Global Gathering in Uganda, the network agreed to push for either a global convention or regional conventions for a legally binding framework on Principle 10, but we were flexible. Since then, we have found more political will for a regional convention as it can allow for more local specificities.
In preparation for Rio+20, Participa worked with government offices such as the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Ministry of Environment to include Principle 10 in the government documents and national agenda. Participa was successful in forming a strategic partnership with the Chilean government, which increased pressure on other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Before Rio+20, Peru, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Chile were already committed to the regional convention and had agreed upon a draft declaration. Out of Rio, ten countries have signed on to the finalized LAC convention declaration- Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, and Uruguay.
Q: What are the next steps for this LAC convention?
In late November, a workshop will be hosted in Santiago with two representatives from each of the ten countries – one from the government and one from an NGO. This gathering will serve to acquaint key players with each other and the process in front of them. From January 26-27, 2013, Santiago will host the EU + CELAC Summit, during which there will be a panel to officially announce the LAC convention.
Q: What is the role of TAI partners in supporting the convention?
It is up to TAI partners to advocate for the convention in all LAC countries and to bring on governments and organizations that have not yet committed to the declaration. New partners in uncommitted countries must be identified and engaged with to ensure effective pressure across Latin America and the Caribbean. TAI partners must not only outreach but document the process, so it can be repeated in other regions around the world.