The landmark Escazú Agreement: An opportunity to integrate democracy, human rights, and transboundary conservation

Sofía López-Cubillos, Lina Muñoz-Ávila, Leslie A. Roberson, Andrés F. Suárez-Castro, Jose Manuel Ochoa-Quintero, Renato Crouzeilles, Eduardo Gallo-Cajiao, Jonathan Rhodes, Wolfram Dressler, María José Martinez-Harms, Rebecca K. Runting

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is one of the world's most biodiverse regions, but this diversity is threatened by the overexploitation of natural resources and internal social conflicts. In 2018, 33 LAC countries were invited to sign and ratify the landmark Escazú Agreement, which is the first legally binding environmental agreement to explicitly integrate human rights with environmental matters. The agreement outlines an approach to enhance the protection of environmental defenders, increase public participation in environmental decision-making, and foster cooperation among countries for biodiversity conservation. However, clear mechanisms to implement the ideals of the Agreement are currently lacking. We identify the key provisions of the Agreement and link these to tangible mechanisms which aim to integrate human rights and nature conservation. These mechanisms include technological (e.g., free online data), human-based (e.g., legal advice from multidisciplinary teams), and nature-based solutions (e.g., transboundary species management). As environmental assets––and threats to them––span national boundaries, the collaborative and participatory provisions of the agreement could catalyze coordinated transboundary environmental management. Because of the importance of this Agreement for the LAC region, we added a Spanish version of this manuscript in the Supplementary Material (versión del artículo en español en el material suplementario).

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalConservation Letters
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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