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Versión Español | September 2013


In search of an informed and participatory Society for Sustainable Development

"It is the right and responsibility of all citizens to participate in decisions relating to their own development" reads Article 6 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

The OAS and Costa Rica in search of an informed and participatory Sustainable DevelopmentBased on the principles of the Democratic Charter, the Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and the OAS-SEDI Department of Sustainable Development conducted the National Workshop on "Strengthening Mechanisms for Participation and Access to Information for Sustainable Development" on September 12, 2013 in San Jose. Participants in the workshop included representatives from government, civil society, social actors and other entities concerned with the promotion of sustainable development.  

In an effort to promote access to information and facilitate participation by civil society, participants discussed the objectives, scope and procedures of the different mechanisms in place for civil society and social actor participation at national and regional levels. In particular, participants discussed and made recommendations to the manual-guide being developed by the OAS with the government to disseminate and strengthen existing mechanisms for public participation in Costa Rica.  

In her speech, the Vice Minister of Environment of Costa Rica, Ana Lorena Guevara, clarified that even though there are different mechanisms currently in place for civil society to be heard and demand compliance on environmental and social issues, the government hopes to "develop a process that integrates formal and informal opportunities to strengthen the capacity of stakeholders to access such mechanisms. This is where we urge the OAS to provide support in the development of the manual for participation, but more importantly for its validation and application."  

For his part, Henry Jova, OAS Representative in Costa Rica said that "civil society and social actors play an important role in the various OAS initiatives given their role in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of sustainable development policies and regional programs." He continued adding that "objectives like those pursued by this initiative can only be achieved through the joint effort of government and civil society. This is even more relevant in environmental matters, as the management of natural resources has an impact on people’s lifestyle."  

The event is part of the activities of the project "Strengthening Public Participation Mechanisms for Sustainable Development" which seeks to implement the Inter-American Strategy for Public Participation in Decision-Making for Sustainable Development (ISP), adopted by OAS member states.   The project is sponsored by the Pathways to Prosperity, a forum that seeks to promote dialogue and information exchange among the countries of the region to promote inclusive growth, prosperity and sustainable development.

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