Environmental Rights and Conflicts over Raw Materials in Latin America. The Escazú Agreement Is Ready to Come into Force in 2021

Günther Maihold and Viktoria Reisch
DOI number

#Environment and climate change
#Latin America

On 5 November 2020 Mexico ratified the so-called Escazú Agreement, a treaty between Latin American and Caribbean states on establishing regional transparency and en­viron­­ment standards, as the eleventh country to do so. The prescribed quorum of ratifications has thus been attained, and the agreement can come into force in 2021. This will launch an innovative multilateral instrument that is intended to create more citizen par­ticipation and improve the assertion of citizens’ rights in environmental matters. In Latin America, economic interests dominate when it comes to the exploitation of raw materials; furthermore, there is a large number of conflicts over resources. The agree­ment thus offers affected indigenous tribes and human-rights defenders more oppor­tu­nities for information, participation and access to the justice system in environmen­tal matters. Despite this binding first step, some leading countries in the region have so far failed to ratify the agreement. Many of them are reluctant to join, arguing that cer­tain provisions violate their national sovereignty and their freedom of decision. For Germany and Europe, the agreement offers new leverage for drafting supply chain laws.


Günther Maihold

German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)

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