In search of an informed and participatory Society for Sustainable
"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.
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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