This is great news for Colombian environmental matters. Here we tell you why.
Ambassador Guillermo Fernández de Soto, Representative of Colombia to the United Nations, after the signing of the Escazú agreement. / Photo: cancilleria.gov.co
LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza
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Leer en español: Colombia firma el Acuerdo de Escazú
On December 11, Colombia signed the Escazú Agreement. The decision had been previously announced by Iván Duque, president of the country, and it was Guillermo Fernández, Colombian ambassador to the UN, who signed the agreement.
Through a press release, the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that this agreement “aims to guarantee the full and effective implementation in Latin America and the Caribbean of the rights of access to environmental information, public participation in the process of making environmental decisions and access to justice in environmental matters, as well as the creation and strengthening of capacities and cooperation, contributing to the protection of the right of each person, of present and future generations, to live in a healthy and healthy environment. to sustainable development ”.
Linking to this agreement ensures that the country will move towards an environmental democracy with justice and information while ensuring environmental human rights. This agreement is the first of its kind in Latin America and the Caribbean and is aligned with the 2030 sustainable development goals agenda. In addition, the agreement recognizes the close relationship between the state, economy, and society to achieve sustainable development.
At the end of the ceremony in New York, Fernández de Soto declared that “the signing of this instrument confirms the indeclinable commitment of President Duque to the promotion of human rights and the protection of the environment. It also marks a historic milestone for Colombia's fulfillment of the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. ”
The signing of the agreement was concluded by environmentalists. According to Manuel Rodríguez Becerra, who served as Minister of the Environment, the country's link to the agreement shows the president's readiness for the requests of the national unemployment marchers.
On the other hand, by protecting environmental human rights, the Escazú Agreement also functions as a protection measure for those dedicated to advocating the environment. Sustainable Week explains that Colombia is the second most dangerous country worldwide for those who protect environmental resources and the territory.
Why hadn't Colombia signed the Escazu Agreement before?
In October of this year, the national government had decided not to sign the agreement considering that there were already national and international instruments that met the objective of the agreement. At that time, several environmental sectors in Colombia expressed their rejection of the government's refusal.
In statements gathered for Sustainable Week, Camilo Prieto, spokesman for the Colombian Environmental Movement, said that "the non-signing of the agreement is a bad message for environmentalists and an affront to those who fight to protect their territories from organizations outside the Law and multinationals that have economic interests. ”
Additionally, Vanessa Torres, deputy director of the Environment and Society Organization stated that “there are indeed many rules, but there is also ignorance, and, inefficiency. In addition, there is an important point and it is that in Colombia there is no direct regulation on protection of environmental defenders, which is necessary and let's say that it would be a first step within the political will of the national government to give leaders guarantees that defend our territory and that it is costing their lives ”.