Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 20, 2022 (SKNIS): Derionne Edmeade, Environmental Education Officer in the Ministry of Environment and Cooperatives, is currently in Santiago, Chile, representing the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis at the First meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP1) to the Escazu Agreement which runs from April 20-22, at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Headquarters.
“St. Kitts and Nevis is one of 24 countries who has signed the agreement and one of the 12 party states which has also ratified. This shows the commitment and dedication that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis made to create a safer and sustainable environment for our current and future generations,” said Mr. Edmeade, who serves as the country’s focal point for the agreement. “This is a landmark multilateral instrument that will provide a framework for matters of the environment and can be used to safeguard vulnerable groups and remove barriers that impede or hinder the full exercise of environmental human rights.”
At the meeting, Mr. Edmeade will address the conference highlighting the Federation’s commitment to the Escazu agreement and its obligations, and how Small Island Developing States (SIDS) can benefit from becoming a party to the treaty.
The Escazu Agreement, which emerged from the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development ((Rio+20), is a regional treaty that entered into force on April 22, 2021. The agreement, which was negotiated by governments of Latin America and the Caribbean, preserves the right of every person of present and future generations to live in a healthy and sustainable environment. This is the region’s first environmental treaty and the world’s first agreement with provisions on human rights defenders in environmental matters.
The agreement sets out to create and strengthen capacities and cooperation, ultimately helping to secure individuals’ right to a healthy environment. It will also mandate the operation of a virtual, universally accessible clearinghouse on access rights to be operated by the UN Economic Commission serving as the Secretariat of the agreement. It is built on three main pillars which guarantee the right to access environmental information, the right to participation and access to justice as it relates to environmental matters.
The first Conference of the Parties to the Escazu Agreement will concentrate on the three articles included in the agreement, namely, the rules for the implementation of the agreement, the funding necessary for the function and implementation of the agreement, as well as the establishment of an implementation and Support Committee.