Grassroots advocates meet in Guatemala

Greetings from Antigua!

ELAW partners from throughout Central America are gathering in Antigua, Guatemala this week.  The meeting, organized by ELAW and our partners at the Alianza de Derecho Ambiental y Agua (ADA2) is a gathering of grassroots advocates in Central America who are working to strengthen the rule of law and protect the environment.

Over the 3-day gathering, advocates will share experiences and work together to develop new strategies to address issues such as preserving marine and forest resources, promoting environmental justice, and protecting the climate.

This morning, advocates from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua heard from Dr. Luis Zurita, Vice-Minister for the Environment for Guatemala, who described the challenges of solving the many environmental issues in Guatemala.  Ruth Solano, an attorney with Justicia Para la Naturaleza in Costa Rica, described a new environmental legal aid program developed by the bar association in conjunction with the University of Costa Rica that assists any community member who wants to report an environmental problem.   The afternoon session featured an extensive discussion with Mario Mancilla, the Technical Assistant to the CAFTA-DR Secretariat for Environmental Matters, about using the citizen enforcement mechanism of the CAFTA-DR trade agreement.

ELAW staff members Lori Maddox, Jen Gleason, and Liz Mitchell are attending the meeting and will be sending updates throughout the week.


by Liz Mitchell