Nicaragua kicks off Multi-Stakeholder Process to strengthen Participatory Environmental Governance

More than 50 participants from various government sectors and diverse stakeholder groups participated in a National Planning Workshop on 18 November of 2009 in Managua, Nicaragua,  to kick-off a 1-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.

In her opening statement, Mrs. Elisa Marenco Castellon, Director of the Division of Politics and Strategy of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA), emphasized that the Government of Nicaragua is “committed in taking the steps to implement Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration with the goal to protect the environmental rights and interests of civil society”. She also pointed out that “the [Principle 10] project encourages collaboration between the government and non governmental parties, including the private sector, public interest groups, universities and indigenous groups”.

Although Nicaragua has taken considerable steps in modernizing its environmental legislation, including new provisions to secure access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters, the workshop revealed opportunities to enhance the effective implementation of Principle 10. Participants highlighted challenges such as high levels of analphabetism, making information available in an understandable manner and proper dissemination of information to the public.

As a contribution to capacity development to enhance implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, UNITAR, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD), is providing support to countries in Central America in 2009-2010, with funding of the Government of Spain. The projects have the objective to catalyze a multi-stakeholder process to prepare a National Profile to assess existing capacities at national and local levels and to identify action for targeted capacity development to strengthen 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 Mr. Denis Fuentes (dfuentes@marena.gob.ni) and Mrs. Engracia Merlo (emerlo@marena.gob.ni) or visit: http://www.unitar.org/egp/principle-10-nicaragua.

Environmental Governance Programme contact: envgov@unitar.org