The Escazu Agreement as a partnering tool

The Escazu Agreement as a partnering tool

How’s that again? An environmental treaty, a dog with teeth no less and its a tool for fostering partnerships? It is if you look at the happenings. Just a few days ago I was invited - privileged to my way of thinking, to a meeting of the Trinidad arm of the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance (CPA). Take a moment to read their ‘About Us’.

“The objective of the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance is to harness financial and other resources required to accelerate achievements of the SDGs in the Caribbean over the next ten (10) years. Our core implementation methodology is to foster partnership and collaboration among corporate leaders, foundations, individual philanthropists, and other philanthropic entities across the Caribbean. The Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance will be the coordinating organization”.

Sounds familiar huh? It does to me, as 17 As Soon As Possible envisage more or less an identical stream of events (probably less as we aren’t as well-heeled financially). If that is, we can get to know what the private and the governance sectors are thinking. Anyway back to linking that CPA meet and our connection to the Escazu Agreement. I find the CPA is bullish on “legal frameworks and governance arrangements” among other paths to ensure “more impactful SDG outcomes”.

This is great news for Trinidad and Tobago. There are many who would really, repeat really, would like to see this country among the signatories. At time of writing - this wet and wonderfully quiet late November afternoon, the Alliance has not commented on the text of the Agreement. Which is understandable given the amount of lawyers in the group. Suffice it to say though, while Caribbean Philanthropic will no doubt find value from the Agreement for their work, they have already added gravitas to our ongoing call to the T&T administration to get on board with Escazu.

How can the CPA’s work help the 17ASAP mission?

Let’s count the ways. Binding us is their drive to accomplish traction for the Goals agenda. Secondly they seem to understand who are the key players to assist them in that work: Most new civil society groups founder a bit so we feel we are brothers in arms. Third. Though its very early days the Alliance brings a regional feel to SDG advocacy, something that’s hard to achieve. Not because the local players like us are well - trivial but the topics covered by the SDGs are onground, of national scope at this time. Things like commonshore deals need ages to forge compared to creating a marine park say. Fourth, they’re based in Jamaica and its fitting the children of the Maroons should lead the Caribbean in the CLimate Change charge.

How do we plan to incorporate the ethos of the Escazu Agreement in Trinidad and Tobago, given Jamaica (where the CPA is based) is already committed to it? Regrettably, we don’t rightly know at this juncture. We do believe however that an international group expects the field of work to be uneven. That T&T is not on board yet should merely incentivise them to work with 17ASAP no? As I close this post it should be apparent I’m soooo infatuated with the CPA and for good reason. An eye on this space will keep you informed as the Caribbean’s march - to enable the Escazu Agreement as a common legal denominator for the region commences.

Postscript: :The Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean - what we call Escazu Agreement may have had its roots in the region but its reach is global. To put it in perspective; Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development seeks to ensure that every person has access to information, can participate in the decision-making process and has access to justice in environmental matters.