Media Center

Press Release

Assistant Secretary General of the OAS Calls for Action for Inclusion and Environmental Justice

  June 4, 2014

As part of its 44th General Assembly, which is taking place in Asunción, Paraguay, the Organization of American States (OAS) today held a high-level dialogue with the theme “Good Governance and Environmental Justice: Toward an Inclusive Sustainable Development Agenda for the Americas.”

During the event, OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin issued a call for the region’s aspirations to be transformed into specific actions for attaining social inclusion and environmental justice. In turn, Sheila Abed, Minister of Justice of Paraguay, spoke of the major challenges still facing the region and underscored the importance of the structures necessary for dealing with those challenges being in place within both the executive and judicial branches of government.

In his remarks, Minister Antonio Herman Benjamin of Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice noted that “there can be no environmental protection without an effective judiciary.” Marco Vinicio Redondo, a member of Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly, said that “the transformation toward sustainable development must be based on action to benefit society’s neediest groups, and it has to be viral.”

The event, jointly organized by the OAS Department of Sustainable Development and the Paraguayan Ministry of Justice, was attended by senior government officials from Paraguay, regional authorities with responsibilities in environmental, justice, and development matters, strategic partners, and representatives of civil society.

The authorities that participated in the meeting included the Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development of Trinidad and Tobago, Bhoendradatt Tewarie; Mexican Senator Marcela Guerra; and the Director of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, Elizabeth Mrema.

The agenda was centered around two broad themes: “Toward harmony between the economic, environmental, and social arenas,” where the discussions focused on emerging challenges (economic growth, globalization, trade and investment, climate change, and vulnerabilities) and peace and sustainable development (conflict prevention and management, environmental diplomacy); and “Equity and the rights-based approach: Environmental justice and the rule of law as guarantors of sustainable development,” which underscored the role of basic and substantive environmental rights (perspectives of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches), democracy, and rights of access (to information, justice, and participation) in decisions regarding sustainable development.

The event’s two sessions yielded important contributions from the member states for the Third Inter-American Meeting of Ministers and High-Level Authorities on Sustainable Development, which is scheduled to take place in 2015; for the United Nations General Assembly’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals; and for the United Nations Environment Programme, to be considered at the First United Nations Environment Assembly, to be held at the end of June 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-230/14