75 years ago, the UN was born. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the UN looks back at several important achievements, but much work on persisting challenges still lies ahead. Increased UN engagement in three areas can make the region more resilient to future challenges.
The "UN75 Regional Dialogue for the Americas: Toward Innovation and Renewal of Global and Regional Governance" (20 March–26 April 2020) was designed to bring diverse, multi-stakeholder, regional perspectives and actionable ideas into the final months of preparations for key global policy milestones of 2020, including the UN 75 Leaders Summit and its associated political declaration, as well as the 2020 Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture.
The Online Regional Dialogue for the Americas serves as a platform to open the conservation around key issues and questions on the future of multilateralism and its impact at the global, regional and national levels in the Americas.
[Postponed to 2021, dates tbd] Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Climate Week 2020 will bring together representatives from the public and private sectors to exchange ideas and identify synergies in discussions, meetings and exhibitions on a diverse set of themes related to climate action and sustainable development.
If ratified, the Mercosur-EU trade deal may reinforce the parties’ commitment to climate action. Yet, its potential relevance is weakened by a language that often stops short of concrete commitments, as well as political resistance.
To fight illegal coca plantations and conflict actors’ income sources, Colombia’s president wants to loosen the ban on aerial glyphosate spraying. However, considering the dynamics of organised crime, the use of toxic herbicides will not only fail to achieve its aim, it will have many adverse effects for the environment and human health, fundamentally undermining ways to reach peace in the country. International cooperation and national policy-makers need to account for this peace spoiler.
Costs, emissions and safety are at stake as Argentina and China look set to seal a nuclear power deal. In the midst of economic and political uncertainty, Argentina has doubled down on a major Chinese nuclear power deal. The new nuclear plant in Buenos Aires province will help meet Argentina’s energy needs with the support of Chinese technology and finance.
Brazil has demoted climate diplomacy as part of a foreign ministry shake-up, in Jair Bolsonaro’s first two weeks as president.
In order to help address escalating violence, UN Environment has launched the UN Initiative for Environmental Defenders. This brief analyses the initiative and looks into how member states can support peace by engaging in environmental diplomacy, with a focus on Brazil.
Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro has named an anti-globalist diplomat to lead foreign affairs and his country’s relationship with the Paris Agreement. Ernesto Araújo, a relatively junior diplomat, accuses the left of using the environmental cause ‘to serve their political project of total domination’
Linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans across the Latin American landmass has often been presented as one of the holy grails of development for the region. While China’s idea of a ‘Nicaraguan Canal’ has made headlines globally, another major infrastructure project is in the works further south: the Bi-Oceanic Railway. The idea has already spurred transboundary environmental cooperation, but the public is still in the dark.
Climate action and free trade have been perceived as contrary agendas for a long time. Despite more and more governments seeing tremendous potential for win-win outcomes, aligning trade and climate has become harder. This is due to changes in our current geopolitical landscape, as Christian Hübner explains in light of the upcoming G20 summit.
Fourteen Latin American and Caribbean countries made history at the UN General Assembly on September 27 by signing the Escazú Agreement, a regional accord on public participation and access to information and justice in environmental affairs. It is the first region-wide agreement of its kind and has been touted a big step forward in recognising the rights of environmental defenders. Signatories now need to ratify the Agreement internally before it can enter into force.
Chile's rich environment has been increasingly suffering under extreme weather events and contamination. Climate mitigation and adaptation plans throughout the world can help curb this trend, and 2nd Climate Week Chile seeks to gather these initiatives under one roop to discuss and exchange.
In October 2019 the Environmental Peacebuilding Association will host the First International Conference on Environmental Peacebuilding at the University of California. The conference will bring together academics, practitioners, and decision-makers to examine the links between environment, conflict, and peace.