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At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 20-22 June 2012, 10 Governments from Latin America and the Caribbean endorsed the Declaration on the application of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to rights of access to information, participation and justice regarding environmental matters, declared their willingness to work towards a regional instrument promoting the full application of those rights and requested the support of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) as technical secretariat. Twenty countries have signed the Declaration to date and it remains open for signature by all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In 2012-2014, four meetings of the focal points appointed by the Governments of the signatory countries of the Declaration on the application of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean were held: the first in Santiago on 6 and 7 November 2012; the second in Guadalajara, Mexico, on 16 and 17 April 2013; the third in Lima on 30 and 31 October 2013; and the fourth in Santiago, from 4 to 6 November 2014.

At the fourth meeting of the focal points, the signatory countries adopted the Santiago Decision, in which they agreed to commence negotiations on a regional instrument on access to information, participation and justice regarding environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean. To that end, they established a negotiating committee, with significant participation by the public, and appointed Presiding Officers. They requested ECLAC to prepare
a preliminary document on the regional instrument. They also requested the Presiding Officers to steer the process, with the support of ECLAC as technical secretariat, with a view to concluding negotiations on the regional instrument by December 2016.

The first meeting of the negotiating committee was held at ECLAC headquarters in Santiago from 5 to 7 May 2015. At that meeting, ECLAC presented the preliminary document on the regional instrument that it had been requested by the countries to prepare. The negotiating committee adopted its organization and work plan and agreed to hold its second meeting in Panama City, at the invitation of the Government of Panama, on 27-29 October 2015.

In preparation for the second meeting of the negotiating committee, in the organization and work plan the representatives of the participating countries agreed to: (a) initiate or continue internal activities and consultations, including with the public, on the preliminary document on the regional instrument, taking into account the specific circumstances, norms and practices of each country; (b) submit language proposals to the secretariat, by 31 August 2015, in relation to the preamble and articles 1 to 10 of the preliminary document; (c) invite the public to submit language proposals to their governmental national focal points or to the secretariat by 31 August 2015, in relation to the preamble and articles 1 to 10 of the
preliminary document; (d) request the Presiding Officers to compile, with the support of the secretariat, language proposals from the countries into the preliminary document and produce a compilation text, and ask the secretariat to compile contributions by the public into a separate document; and (e) negotiate on the basis of the text compiled by the Presiding Officers at the second meeting, to be held on 27-29 October 2015.

For additional background information, please visit the main webpage of the Principle 10 process: