The Champions of Escazú is a joint initiative of The Access Initiative (TAI), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC) and the Government of Costa Rica.
The Champions of Escazú initiative includes civil society, activists, academics, multilateral organizations, business leaders, indigenous leaders, youth and other advocates to call on governments to ratify and effectively implement the Escazú Agreement. The Escazú Agreement seeks to ensure the creation and strengthening of capacities and cooperation between Governments, contributing to the protection of the right of every person of present and future generations to live in a healthy environment and to sustainable development. It includes specific provisions to protect and prevent harm against environmental human rights defenders.
The initiative was launched on October 10, 2019, on the last day of the Pre COP 25, held in San José, Costa Rica, and the first Champion was David Boyd, United Nations Rapporteur for Human Rights and the Environment. The next set of Champions are the Youth Champions of Escazú which were launched on March 4, 2020 on the anniversary of the adoption of the Escazú Agreement, and who include:
- Nicole Becker, 19, from Argentina. Nicole is one of the cofounders of Young People for the Argentine Climate, a FridaysForFuture-aligned movement. She is a media spokesperson and avid writer on climate change, inequality and justice.
- Sebastián Benfeld, 19, from Chile. Sebastián attends Alta Monte School in Quilpué, a spokesperson for FridaysForFuture and an avid writer and promoter of democratic rights in Chile.
- Kyara Cascante, 16, from Costa Rica. Kyara attends Liceo de Miramar High school and is a member of multiple student networks focused on environmental issues and political activism in Costa Rica.
- Nafesha Richarsdon, 23, from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Nafesha is studying law and is the founder of SPARK SVG, a nonprofit youth organization that motivates, empowers and inspires young people to ignite positive change in their communities, with themes of planet, people, peace, prosperity and partnership.
- Laura Serna, 23, from Colombia. Laura is an Afro-descendant studying human rights law, environmental law and peace and post conflict. Laura is an active volunteer and has conducted pro bono environmental work at the Legal Clinic of Public Actions at the University of Rosario.
All the champions are working to promote the Escazu Agreement and support the awareness of Youth all around the region to join and become engaged.