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A boat-filled harbour photographed from the air, west of St George

Complacency kills: Caribbean gears up for tsunamis

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-46356998

BBC News

By Philippa Fogarty
Kingston, Jamaica

8 December 2018

A boat-filled harbour photographed from the air, west of St George's, Grenada, in February 2018
Image caption – Island nations like Grenada hope to be tsunami-ready by 2020

The last time a major tsunami hit the Caribbean region was in 1946, after an 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola.

At Playa Rincón, the sea rushed 700m (2,300ft) inland, according to a man who clung to the top of an almond tree to survive. Waves were 5m high in places and 1,600 people died across the north-east coast. Small tsunami waves were also recorded in Puerto Rico, Bermuda and even New Jersey.

Since then, a handful of tsunamis have occurred – in Panama and Costa Rica in 1991 after an earthquake, and in Montserrat in 1997 after a landslide of volcanic debris. After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, sub-sea landslides generated waves that killed three people.

Over the same period, populations have more than doubled and tourist numbers on Caribbean beaches have soared, passing 30 million in 2017. In most places, infrastructure is concentrated in coastal areas.

Experts warn that the region runs the risk of complacency over the tsunami threat.

“The potential for tsunamis is significant and has to be taken seriously,” says Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade, who oversees the Puerto Rico-based Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program under the US National Weather Service.

“Within the Caribbean and bordering the Caribbean, there are major fault structures and also volcanoes that could generate a tsunami at any time.”

Multiple risks

Key areas are along the north-eastern and eastern boundaries of the Caribbean where the North American and South American plates interact with the Caribbean plate.

Tsunamis in the Caribbean

Presentational grey line

These boundaries include areas of subduction (where one plate is forced under another, as in the Indian Ocean in 2004) and strike-slip motion (where plates are side by side, like the San Andreas fault).

One area to watch is the subduction zone east of the Lesser Antilles, says Dr Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer at RMS catastrophe risk modelling consultancy and the author of a 2015 report on mega-tsunamis. “We strongly suspect this area is potentially prone to these really large earthquakes, which would be associated with a major regional tsunami.”

Haitian presidential guards lower the Haitian flag on April 19, 2011 in front of the destroyed presidential palace in Port-au-Prince
Image captionHaiti has struggled to recover from the damage caused by a devastating earthquake in 2010

Another series of faults lie north of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and includes the 8,400m-deep Puerto Rico Trench. While this area is not a straightforward subduction zone and there has not been a really significant earthquake along this boundary, there is evidence of massive submarine landslides into the trench and historical reports of local tsunamis, says Dr Muir-Wood.

Big earthquakes have also occurred off the Caribbean coast of Central America and Venezuela.

“The Caribbean is clearly a place where both [regional and local] types of tsunamis can be anticipated, and the key is that simply because an event hasn’t happened in the last 300 years of history doesn’t mean it can’t happen,” says Dr Muir-Wood.

Warning time

Before 2004, Ms von Hillebrandt-Andrade says tsunami warning systems in the Caribbean were “basically non-existent”. But the Indian Ocean disaster sparked action and a regional body on tsunami risk was established under Unesco in 2005.

Significant work has been done to increase the data flow to the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC), which provides alerts to the region.

“Every single country has opened up its seismic data and that has been absolutely critical,” says Ms von Hillebrandt-Andrade.

Today there are 80 sea-level stations and 125 seismic stations sending information, up from five and 10 respectively in 2004. “That has permitted us to reduce our lead time – the time it takes to issue the initial [tsunami warning] product – from 10-15 minutes to under 5 minutes.”

Once PTWC has issued an advisory, responsibility for local alerts devolves to national governments. At this level, Ms von Hillebrandt-Andrade says, capabilities “vary greatly throughout the region”.

A car drives on a damaged road in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on October 2, 2017
Image captionHurricane Maria resulted in thousands of deaths on Puerto Rico after it hit in 2017

Some places, like Puerto Rico, have well-established protocols. Other places are less practised.

In January, when PTWC issued its first international tsunami threat message to the region after a 7.6 earthquake off Honduras, governments in the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, for example, faced questions over their response.

Some governments “had a little bit more difficulty deciding what product they should issue, if they should issue a product, if there really was a real threat”, says Ms von Hillebrandt-Andrade. “Strengths and weaknesses were identified.”

Funding vital

One early aim of the regional body was to establish a centre like PTWC in the Caribbean, but that has been sidelined in favour of improving education. Local tsunamis can potentially reach shore before an alert, and lives can be saved if residents know to seek high ground.

Central to this educational push is the annual tsunami exercise, Caribe Wave, and the Tsunami Ready programme, now adopted by Unesco, which sets out guidelines for communities to meet. So far Puerto Rico, Anguilla, St Kitts & Nevis and the Virgin Islands are certified as Tsunami Ready, while pilot projects have taken place in Haiti and Grenada.

Hurricane Emily is shown in this computer generated NOAA satellite illustration made available July 14, 2005 over the south-eastern Caribbean Sea
Image captionHurricane Emily hit Grenada in 2005

In Grenada the area chosen was St Patrick’s Parish, 8km (5 miles) south of rumbling submarine volcano Kick ‘Em Jenny. Educational billboards, evacuation maps and signs have been posted and an awareness programme carried out.

“We had to get down on the ground and interact with all of the community groups, we worked with the churches, the schools, the fisherfolk, the farmers,” says Senator Winston Garraway, minister of state with oversight of disaster management and information. “From the senior people to the children, they have the information now and they know exactly what has to be done.”

The government wants the whole island to be Tsunami Ready by 2020, starting with a southern parish potentially vulnerable to a tsunami generated off Venezuela. Mr Garraway also wants to establish a nationwide siren system to complement alerts disseminated via radio and TV.

Aerial views of the slopes of the Soufriere Hills showing the destruction and complete loss of the capital of Monserrat, Plymouth and St Patrick's village
Image captionA tsunami hit Monserrat in 1997 after there was a landslide of volcanic debris

But resourcing is a major problem for small island nations like Grenada, which must also address twin challenges of hurricanes and the impact of climate change. “Most of what we have to do, we do not have the ready resources,” says Mr Garraway. “Grant funding is extremely important for us at this time.”

Regionally, work remains to be done. Scientists still do not have the data needed to accurately size very large earthquakes and their type of movement quickly. Tsunami protocols for cruise ships are needed. Better understanding of bathymetry (water depth and shore height) would enable better scenario modelling, but some nations do not have that information.

“Every single country and territory in the region has room for improvement,” says Ms von Hillebrandt-Andrade.

“Tsunamis don’t occur that frequently, so it’s very easy to become desensitised. But the reality is that a tsunami could kill many more people than any hurricane could.”

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Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada rattled by earthquake

Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada rattled by earthquake

 
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Nov 12, CMC – Trinidad and Tobago continued to be rattled by earthquakes in recent days with the latest occurring on Sunday night when a tremor with a magnitude of 3.9 was also felt in neighbouring Grenada, the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the St. Augustine campus of the University of the west indies (UWI) has reported.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage caused by the quake, which occurred at 8.47 pm (local time), but the SRC said that its location was Latitude: 11.18 north, Longitude: 61.90 west and at a depth of 61 kilometers (km).

The SRC said that the tremor was felt 72 km north west of Port of Spain, 91 km NW of Arima in Trinidad and Tobago and 98 km south of St. George’s, the Grenadian capital.

Earlier this month, the SRC warned that Trinidad and Tobago would experience moderate to strong earthquakes following the 6.9 quake that hit the oil rich twin island republic on August 21 sending people rushing into the streets in panic and causing damage to buildings.

“The earthquakes currently being recorded, in the Gulf of Paria, with some being felt, is in keeping with the pattern expected after such events. The other areas around Trinidad will continue to produce their normal annual magnitude output; on average, we expect just over 50 events of magnitude greater than 3.5 every year.

“In that context, given the two areas in the Gulf of Paria that are currently adjusting following significant magnitude earthquakes and the annual, expected events in the other, surrounding zones, the earthquake activity being seen is normal,” the SRC added.

The SRC warned Caribbean countries to ensure that all necessary measures are in place to respond appropriately to any large magnitude earthquake which may potentially cause significant damage and loss of life.

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IMG-20181112-WA0006 (1)

No access to areas south of Belham Valley

Important Notice especially for visitors, tourists and sightseers

This will be a setback for tourists on the Windstar Vessel due to arrive on Tuesday, Crafters, and especially taxi drivers who according to DiscoverMNI were urged to be ready!

 Further to potential flood warnings – comes this news later in the day

The Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) in consultation with the Commissioner of the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) has taken a decision to cease access to areas south of Belham Valley.

 The decision was taken due to the road being compromised and also to allow the authorities to carry out remedial work on the road in an effort to ensure the safety of all users.

 The road at Belham Valley will, therefore, be closed from 5 o’clock this afternoon and a further update will be given in due course.

 Persons, south of Belham are asked to make their way to the north immediately.

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DMCA urges motorists to drive with due care and attention in flood prone areas

The Antigua Meteorological Services has issued a flash flood advisory for Montserrat.

DMCA – November 12, 2018 (mid-day) The warning is in effect for minor flooding in low lying and flood prone areas and is valid until 5 pm today.

Therefore, the  Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) is advising motorists to drive with due care and attention and be mindful of areas prone to flooding. The areas are  Robert W Griffith Drive from Little Bay to Carrs Bay – adjacent to Piper’s Pond and Pump Ghaut in St John’s.

The DMCA is also cautioning motorists especially when driving to remain alert and look out for areas prone to landslides and rockfalls namely from Forgathy to Cudjoe Head, Pump Ghaut to Look Out and the Barzey’s area.

Residents in Isles Bay Hill and other persons crossing the Belham Valley River are asked to take extra precautions during heavy rainfall associated due, to the possibility of lahars occurring with little or no warning in the area.

A flood advisory means that streams, creeks and drains may be elevated or even overflowing into streets, low lying and flood prone areas; however, property damage will be minimal.

Inconveniences can be expected but the flooding is not expected to be immediately life-threatening. however, just one foot of flowing water is enough to sweep vehicles off the road. when encountering flooded roads be extremely cautious, and if in doubt, make the smart choice, turn around don’t drown. move to higher ground.

A persistent trough over the northeast Caribbean is influencing the weather over the leeward and British Virgin Islands, causing periodic heavy showers. already, based on radar estimates, up to an inch of rainfall has fallen in the vicinity of the island. hence, minor flooding of low lying and flood prone areas is expected.

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passengers

10 Injured as Fly Jamaica Plane Crash Lands at Airport in Guyana

 

The Fly Jamaica plane crash landed 43 minutes after takeoff. (Credit: Cheddi Jagan International Airport-Facebook)

 

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday November 9, 2018 – Ten people were injured this morning when a Fly Jamaica aircraft carrying 120 passengers and eight crew members made an emergency landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) in Guyana.

Officials say none of the injuries are life threatening but did not say which of the passengers, who include two infants, were hurt.

The passengers – 82 Canadians, 35 Guyanese, one Pakistani, a Trinidadian and an American – along with six crew members from Guyana and two from Jamaica, departed the CJIA at 2:10 a.m. and were heading to Toronto, Canada, when the Boeing 757 plane began experiencing technical difficulties.

The flight, which was estimated to arrive at its designation at 6:55 a.m., returned to the CJIA airport where it landed at 2:53 a.m.  Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson meeting with passengers who were on board the Fly Jamaica flight. (Credit: DPI)

“There were no broken bones or other serious injuries reported,” a statement from the Department of Information said. “However, six passengers suffered minor injuries due to the impact to the back of the aircraft. They were rushed to Diamond Diagnostic Hospital.”

Later in the morning, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shamdeo Persaud said 10 people with a variety of “expected sorts of injuries” were taken to hospital.

“So far, we have five persons who are under investigation further for spinal injuries…They are having further X-rays and so on done,” he said, adding that seven of them were subsequently transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital because the Diamond Diagnostic Hospital could not handle all of them.

“They weren’t any direct injuries associated with the plane [crashing]; at this point, nothing life-threatening, although we still will look to the results, especially with the persons with spinal injures.  You understand these are some of the expected kinds of injuries when you use a slide to get off of the airplane.”

Arrangements are being made to fly out the passengers, who were taken to a holding facility after the incident, from tomorrow.

The CJIA has been reopened but the Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson said travellers should expect some delays.

An investigation is being conducted into the incident. The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority is leading the probe and the United States National Transportation Safety Board, which assists with inquiries under international rules, was notified, officials said.

Investigators at the crash site. (Credit: Cheddi Jagan International Airport-Facebook)

The crash site has been secured by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).

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Hawaiian Island Vanishes Overnight

It is slowly being accepted, the term ‘Climate Change’ with the further acceptance of the scientific explanation that earth continues to evolve. Makes for interesting education, discussions and debates, especially among students, scientists and yes, politicians. What is real is that ‘preparations’ must take place to deal with the effects on mankind.

LiveScience

A hurricane has wiped a Hawaiian island completely off the map.

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East Island, a tiny speck of land in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in northwest Hawaii, was washed away by Hurricane Walaka on Oct. 3 and 4, Honolulu Civic Beat reported Tuesday (Oct. 23). The island had been a critical nesting site for threatened Hawaiian green sea turtlesand critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals, biologists told the news organization. 

“There’s no doubt that it was the most important single islet for sea turtle nesting,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) biologist Charles Littnan told Civic Beat.

East Island was a mere 11 acres (0.04 square kilometers) in area. Between 1944 and 1952, it hosted a small Coast Guard station, but the island has otherwise been a haven for wildlife, ranging from albatross to turtles and seals. Satellite imagery has confirmed the island’s demise, but a marine debris team will be headed to the area to survey the damage this week, the Civic Beat reported.

Researchers told Civic Beat that the island’s seals and turtles had left the island after their breeding season but before the hurricane struck. It’s unclear, so far, whether they’ll find a new haven on one of the nearby shoals.

“Species are resilient up to a point,” Littnan told Civic Beat. “But there could be a point in the future where that resilience isn’t enough anymore.”

The Hawaiian green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is a genetically distinct species of green sea turtle found almost exclusively around Hawaii, according to NOAA. They are legally protected under Hawaiian law and the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and those protections have resulted in a 53 percent increase in population since the late 1970s. Their primary nesting grounds are the French Frigate Shoals, including the former East Island.

The Hawaiian monk seals (Neomonachus schauinslandi), which used East Island as breeding grounds, are in a more precarious position. These seals are found only in Hawaii, and despite their protections as a critically endangered species, their numbers are still declining, according to NOAA. Only about 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals are left in the wild, NOAA estimates. A couple hundred of those call the French Frigate Shoals home, Littnan told Civic Beat. And of those, about 30 percent were born on East Island.

The shoal was the victim of bad luck, given the storm’s direct hit. But researchers told Civic Beat that Walaka was strengthened by warmer-than-average ocean waters, a trend scientists predict will only worsen as the globe warms.

Originally published on Live Science.

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High levels of seismic activity reported at Kick ‘Em Jenny

High levels of seismic activity reported at Kick ‘Em Jenny

While the Caribbean region maintains high lookout for tropical storms and hurricanes during the official hurricane season, volcano serves reminder they are always there…
 

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Oct 2, 2018 – (Adapted) The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center (UWI SRC) on Tuesday reported there have been high levels of seismic activity at the Kick ’em Jenny underwater volcano in the past few days.

Grenada’s National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) said in a statement that since the episode began on the afternoon of September 30, several events have taken place. The largest of those occurred on Monday at 3:24 a.m., 3:35 a.m. and 3:56 a.m. of magnitudes 3.5, 3.5 and 3.3 respectively.

The UWI SRC said it is currently analyzing the data and will update further after complete processing,

NaDMA has informed marine interests and the general public that the threat level at the volcano, located  about five miles north of Grenada, remains at yellow, so the exclusion zone of 1.5 kilometres must continue to be observed.

The yellow alert means “the volcano is restless: seismicity and/or fumarolic activity are above the historical level, or other unusual activity has been observed, or can be expected without warning”.

“NaDMA in collaboration with the UWI SRC will continue to monitor, update and inform as necessary,” the agency said in its statement.

Kick ‘Em Jenny rises 1,300 m (4,265 ft) above the sea floor.

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Caribbean countries sign historic Escazu Agreement

Caribbean countries sign historic Escazu Agreement

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 28, CMC – Caribbean leaders were joining their counterparts in Latin America in signing the Escazu Agreement that seeks to protect the rights of access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.

The leaders of Antigua and Barbuda and St. Lucia were the latest to affix their signatures to the accord that the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said is poised to be the new environmental instrument synonymous with non-discrimination, transparency and greater democracy for all.

St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet singing the Escazú Agreement on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly

“This agreement will help fight crime, poverty, inequality and is crucial to the protection of the environment in general. The agreement is sometimes referred to as ‘environmental democracy,’ which is a new legal term that implies the participation of all in protecting the environment,” according to an Antigua and Barbuda government statement.

It quoted Prime Minister Gaston Browne as outlining the importance of Antigua and Barbuda taking the bold step in becoming signatory to the agreement.

“The island is regarded as one of the front runners within the region with a progressive climate agenda, with the hope of transforming Antigua and Barbuda into a climate smart country,” it said.

Or its part, St. Lucia said it has put itself safely at the vanguard of sustainable development with equality at its core, when it joined other countries in signing the agreement that will be open for signatures until September 26, 2020.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, joined his Antigua and Barbuda counterpart as well as the leaders of Guyana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay in signing the agreement.

The Escazú Agreement was adopted on 4 March 2018, in Escazú, Costa Rica and ECLAC said that it reflects regional ambitions, priorities and uniqueness, while addressing environmental protection and management in sustainable leveraging of natural resources, preserving biodiversity, combatting desertification and climate change, and building disaster resilience.

The Escazú Agreement is the only treaty to emerge from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Río+20). It is also the first regional environmental treaty of LAC countries, and the first with binding provisions on defenders of human rights in environmental matters.

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Canadian firm to construct hundreds of new houses in Dominica

Canadian firm to construct hundreds of new houses in Dominica

ROSEAU, Dominica, Sept 24, CMC – The Canadian-based Montreal Management Consultations Est. (MMCE) LTD will construct more than 300 houses here across the island over the coming months as the battered hurricane island continues its efforts to become the world’s first climate resilient country.

MMCE project manager, Chris Timmins, speaking at the signing ceremony here on Monday, said that the project would entail the construction of 66 units in each of the several communities like La Plaine, San Sauveur, Grand Fond, Castle Bruce and Delices on the east coast in the first instance.

Financial Secretary, Rosemund Edwards and the MMCE
chief executive officer, Dr. Anthony Haiden signing agreement.

He said in the northern area of Picard, 68 units are under construction and that a further 68 are to be built in Cotton Hill.

“We are also at City Square which is due to start in the final quarter of this year. It is a total unit, including commercial of 125 units,” Trimmins said after the contracts were signed between the Financial Secretary Financial Secretary, Rosemund Edwards and MMCe chief executive officer, Dr. Anthony Haiden.

Trimmins told the ceremony that following the passage of Hurricane Maria last year that left a trail of death and destruction, revisions had to be made of the intimal housing project in Bellview Chopin, south of here.

“Castle Bruce is scheduled to be completed by June 2019, while everything on the east coast will be completed and handed over. In Georgetown, Picard we anticipate and are confident in July 2019. Cotton Hill we are comfortable in September 2019,” he said.

“The Roseau City Square, it will be twelve months from commencement, so given the present status, we anticipate the completion no later than December 2019,” Timmins said, adding that the units will comprise 10 one-bedrooms, 55 two-bedrooms, 35 three-bedroom units and 25 commercial units.

“We are proud of our products. We have been on the island now for two years, we started up in Bellevue on residential construction in May 2017,” he said, adding “we feel that we now are in a position to offer to the country the most resilient product that is available with modern technology”.

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Caribbean urged to sign landmark environment treaty

Caribbean urged to sign landmark environment treaty

GENEVA, Sept 14, CMC –United Nations human rights experts are urging Caribbean countries to sign and ratify as quickly as possible, the Escazú agreement, described as a ground-breaking environment treaty for the region.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said that the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean was adopted on March 4 in Escazú, Costa Rica, and will be open for signature on September 27 at the UN General Assembly in New York.

The treaty is the first of its kind in the world to include specific binding provisions for the protection and promotion of people, groups and organizations that promote and defend human rights in environmental matters, ECLAC said.

It said the treaty, which was negotiated under its auspices, is the only binding treaty stemming from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

“This landmark regional treaty not only guarantees good governance and basic democratic rights but is also an enabler for environmental protection and sustainable development,” the 27 UN experts said in a joint statement.

“There is a special emphasis on people and groups in vulnerable situations and measures to try to help those most in need. We welcome the focus in this treaty on overcoming the barriers and difficulties that hinder the full enjoyment of human rights related to the environment, which is especially crucial in Latin America and the Caribbean,” they added.

The UN experts also praised the treaty’s explicit recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as the acknowledgement of the cultural diversity of Latin America and the Caribbean and of their peoples.

The Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David R. Boyd, drew particular attention to Article 1 of the treaty, which recognizes everyone’s right to live in a healthy environment.

“This agreement is a major leap forward in the protection and safeguarding of human rights defenders in environmental matters,” said Michel Forst, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

“By establishing specific binding provisions, Latin American and Caribbean States are not only recognizing the acute and alarming situation faced by environmental defenders in countries of the region but are also taking concrete steps to reaffirm their role and respect, protect and fulfil all their rights,” he added.

ECLAC said provisions in the treaty aimed at ensuring access to information and justice, in the various languages used in each of the countries, and fostering public participation and cooperation were also welcomed by the UN experts.

“In keeping with international human rights obligations, the regional agreement sets important standards that will be fundamental in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges such as climate change, land degradation, water pollution, natural disasters and the depletion and unsustainable use of natural resources,” the experts stressed.

The experts added that States should adopt, in their strategies for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, an approach that encompasses the whole of society.

They also pointed out that an essential aspect of States’ international human rights obligations is to ensure protection, respect and support for individuals who raise concerns about adverse human rights impacts, including climate-induced displacement and in the context of development projects where business is involved.

“This approach would allow everyone, particularly those in more vulnerable situations – including older persons, access to timely and reliable information, so that they could participate meaningfully in decisions affecting their lives, and seek redress and remedy when their rights have been infringed,” the experts said.

“By signing and promptly ratifying this ground-breaking treaty, Latin American and Caribbean States will reinforce their strong commitment to environmental protection and human rights and, above all, will send out an unequivocal message in favour of multilateralism, solidarity, equality and regional integration, while encouraging partnerships with other regions,” they added.

In following up on the agreement, ECLAC said States should also ensure that business activities and investments do not come at the cost of adverse environmental and human rights impacts.

In implementing the agreement, ECLAC said States should also be mindful of the varied and disproportionate impact of environmental matters on women and girls, and the specific challenges faced by women human rights defenders, and ensure that all actions taken incorporate a gender perspective.

ECLAC said the regional agreement is open for signature by the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, and requires a minimum of 11 States to become operational.

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