Panama City, Sep 29 (EFE).- Environmental defenders from Latin America and the Caribbean proposed during the closing of the second annual Forum on Human Rights Defenders in Environmental Matters to include the gender perspective in the action plan to be presented at the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties.
“One of the proposals that has come out very strongly is to incorporate the gender perspective,” Andrea Sanhueza, of the Escazú Secretariat at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), told EFE.
Environmental leaders from the region in Panama on Thursday gathered in working groups, moderated by the United Nations and ECLAC, to promote proposals to be included in the regional action plan on defenders, which is to be presented at the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Escazú Agreement (COP 3) to be held April 22-24, 2024 at ECLAC headquarters in Santiago, Chile.
Sanhueza said that the idea is “that the plan incorporates the greatest number of proposals from the defenders themselves and that it be as useful and meaningful as possible for those who defend the environment and receive threats.”
Concerning the gender perspective, the expert explained that this means that “when training a country, its justice operators,” they will need to know whether they are dealing with a male or female environmental defender to provide a response that is more in line with their needs.
“For example, in the diagnosis that will be made of the entire region it is also important to distinguish (…) if there are differences between the threats, intimidation and criminalization tendencies that both men and women receive, we are all looking for ways to incorporate this gender perspective most concretely,” she said.
A consultant from the United Nations Environment Program’s Latin America and the Caribbean Office, María Candela Zaffiro, told EFE that “the main lines of work have been discussed to include gender, intercultural and intergenerational dimensions.”
The second annual Forum on Human Rights Defenders in Environmental Matters, organized by ECLAC, brought together community leaders in Panama City on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the situation and risks faced by activists and the mechanisms for their protection.
Latin America and the Caribbean is considered the most dangerous region in the world for environmental defenders, accounting for 88% of the murdered environmentalists worldwide, with Colombia, Brazil and Mexico being the most violent, according to the latest report by Global Witness. EFE