Our societies are intimately linked to nature, which they depend upon for their security, well-being, development and survival. Science has been unequivocal in showing the evidence. The current production and consumption model is unsustainable and exclusionary, and it has led us to push the planet’s environmental limits. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that when we destroy biodiversity and ecosystems, we also destroy our webs of life.
The “Time for Nature” theme of World Environment Day 2020, which is being commemorated this June 5th, could not be timelier. Hence, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) emphasizes that any recovery will involve nature and that to act for and on behalf of nature, it is essential to have information, transparency, participation and accountability. This year, with Colombia serving as the global host of World Environment Day, our region has been tapped to lead the call for nature.
In addition, Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the regions with the greatest biodiversity in the world. For that reason, proper governance is key to protecting the natural capital of a region that is ever more vulnerable to climate change and its effects. Its resilience largely depends on protecting biodiversity and, therefore, since this is a global public good, it is our duty to preserve it for generations to come, the Commission underscores.
The Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (Escazú Agreement) constitutes a guidebook along that path towards more egalitarian and sustainable development. By ensuring the right of present and future generations to a healthy environment and to sustainable development through access to information, participation and justice, the Escazú Agreement puts people and nature at the center.
“We are faced with a unique opportunity to redesign our relationship with nature. The recovery must be green, or it will not last. It will be by and for the people, or it will not be at all. The Escazú Agreement is the tool that Latin America and the Caribbean has to incorporate people and sustainability into our decisions and to work together on nature-based solutions,” Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, indicated.
To familiarize decision-makers and the general public with the Escazú Agreement, while also analyzing its interaction with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ECLAC, the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) have made publicly available an online course entitled Introductory Course on SDG 16 and access rights, the Aarhus Convention, and the Escazú Agreement, developed in the framework of the InforMEA learning initiative (United Nations Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements), which the Escazú Agreement forms part of. Through this course, users can learn in more detail about the necessity of having peaceful, fair, inclusive societies with strong and responsible institutions to achieve the environmental sustainability of development.
It’s time to act #ForNature