Honorable Vice Minister Lina Pohl at the Opening Ceremony of the Workshop

On the 7 of October of 2009 in San Salvador, El Salvador, some 120 participants from various government sectors and diverse stakeholder groups met in a National Planning Workshop to commence the one year UNITAR-supported project entitled Preparing a National Profile and Action Plan on the Implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration. Principle 10 was adopted at the Rio Summit in 1992 and seeks to strengthen stakeholder participation in environmental decision-making through three main pillars: access to information, public participation and access to justice.

The workshop was opened by the Honorable Lina Pohl, Vice Minister of Environment of El Salvador, who declared that “this [Rio Principle 10] project is very important for the Government of El Salvador, as transparency, access to information and public participation are central pillars of the Ministry’s strategy”.

The project provides an opportunity to explore how civil society can be effectively engaged in decision-processes affecting the environment. It is compatible with the priority of the newly elected Government to promote openness and transparency with the objective of strengthening the public’s trust in the government’s decision making processes. Decision-making in the area of environment is particularly challenging, given the often diverse range of stakeholder interests which may result in controversial projects as, for example, in the case of “The Chaparral” Hydroelectric Power Plant.

As a contribution to capacity development to enhance access to information and strengthen public participation in environmental decision-making in Central America, UNITAR is providing support to three pilot countries in Central America in 2009-2010, funded by the Government of Spain. The three countries include El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama. The projects have the objective to catalyze a multi-stakeholder process to assess existing capacities at national and local levels and to identify opportunities for targeted capacity development in the area of participatory environmental governance.

The project is being coordinated by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) of the Government of El Salvador, working collaboratively with various government sectors and stakeholder groups.

For further information please contact the National Focal Points for the project Ms. Sofia Novoa (snovoa@marn.gob.sv) and Mr. Isaac Bonilla (ibonilla@marn.gob.sv) or visit: http://www.unitar.org/ksi/principle-10-national-profile-and-action-plan-project-el-salvador.

Environmental Governance Programme contact: info.ilp@unitar.org