Environmental commitments. The XI Ibero-American Conference of Ministers of the Environment was held in the Dominican Republic on July 18-19. The event brought together the 19 Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Latin American countries, together with Spain, Portugal and Andorra, to discuss the region’s environmental challenges and opportunities for achieving development and economic recovery compatible with sustainability. As a result of the discussions, the participants signed a declaration with regional priorities, including lines of action to combat climate change and reduce plastic pollution. As explained by the ministers, the main objective is to advance in the construction of an Ibero-American Environmental Charter with a view to reaching a consensus proposal by February 2023.
Among the commitments highlighted in the final declaration of the Conference, the signatory countries undertook to draw up an Ibero-American Environmental Charter to be considered for adoption at the XXVIII Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held in March 2023. This initiative will seek to reach a regional agreement that promotes the transition to circular economy models, among other objectives. To prepare the document, a working group was established comprising Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba and Spain, under the coordination of the Dominican Republic and with the support of the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB in Spanish), the international organization in charge of organizing these meetings. This body will work in permanent consultation with the rest of the Ministries of the Environment of Ibero-America.
The Ministers also defined as strategic lines of action for the region the fight against climate change, both for adaptation and mitigation, technology transfer and capacity building; the integrated management of water resources; cooperation in response to pollution, waste management and marine litter, which would involve the promotion of initiatives to reduce the use of plastics; and the transition to clean energy, among others.
Over the next few months, on the road to the meeting of Heads of State and Government to be held in March 2023, the recently formed working group should begin drafting the Ibero-American Environmental Charter. In order to achieve a consensual and coherent proposal, understanding the different contexts of Latin American and European countries, the working group should promote an open dialogue with the different sectors involved in the adoption of this initiative, including the private and public sectors, as well as civil society organizations.
Opportunity for engagement
On the one hand, the process of drafting the Ibero-American Environmental Charter could lead to the opening of spaces for discussion and consultation within the framework of the working group in charge of its drafting. This body could request the opinion of the private sector, for example, with respect to the transition to circular economy models. On the other hand, the commitments made by the Ministries of the Environment could be materialized in the presentation of bills before the national Congresses, or also in the public consultation of documents such as waste management plans. Both instances would allow the private sector to have a voice in the construction of concrete proposals.