Latin America & Caribbean nations discuss solutions, future of shared environment
26 October 2023
Ministers, Vice Ministers & top environmental officials from Latin America and the Caribbean meet in Panama to agree on common approach to environmental crises.
High-level delegations to take decisions on climate change, biodiversity, pollution, sustainable consumption and production, and environmental education, among others.
The Forum will facilitate discussions and agreements on programmes and initiatives to accelerate environmental action in the region.
Panama, 26 October 2023 – The 23rd meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean opened today, presenting an opportunity to discuss how countries in the region can address climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution to underpin sustainable development, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
The Forum is the region’s oldest and most important environmentally focused body for political dialogue and collaboration, having been established in 1982 with the aim of providing a space for governments to set the priorities on environmental action and to collaborate on programmes, projects and approaches towards those priorities.
Milciades Concepción, Minister of Environment of Panama, which hosts the Forum this year, said, “Cooperation is fundamental to address the challenges we all face. Sustainability and tackling climate change are not tasks for one country alone, but a collective effort involving neighboring nations, international organizations and civil society”. Mr. Concepción added, “Together, we can develop effective strategies to address the connections among natural resources, while at the same time protecting the environment and promoting economic prosperity for our societies through their participation”.
For his part, the Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, Franz Tattenbach Capra, who is the current Chair of the Forum, said, “It is very gratifying the way Latin America and the Caribbean better maintain and unify their positions through these meetings in the context of the Climate Change and Biodiversity conventions, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the plastics agreement and our proposal to create a Regional Commission on Oceans”.
Elizabeth Mrema UNEP Deputy Executive Director said. “As Ministers of the Environment, you have a dual role. You represent the interests of your citizens. And you communicate environmental issues and solutions back to them”. “You are uniquely placed to foster engagement and drive behavioural changes and sustainable practices”, said Ms. Mrema.
The Forum serves also as the regional encounter to discuss and prepare consolidated points of view and contributions from the region to the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) and to the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, thus connecting the environmental agendas at the regional and global levels.
Present at the one-day Forum meeting are high-level representatives of the region’s governments, and from multilateral environmental agreements secretariats, research and academia organizations, civil society and from regional and global development cooperation institutions.
Within the Forum’s agenda are regional priorities and issues to be discussed during a series of High-Level Dialogues, and which include water security and resilience during El Niño, regional perspectives on global agendas, and regional cooperation towards a sustainable management of the oceans, among others. At the Forum’s closure, agreed Decisions and a final Declaration will be presented as part of the agreements reached by the region’s governments.
This year’s meeting of the Forum was preceded by a Meeting of High-Level Officials on 24-25 October also in Panama, and by a Consultative Meeting for Civil Society Organizations on 23 October at the United Nations Environment Programme regional office in the Central American city.
On this occasion, the Forum takes place in parallel with the Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week, organized by the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which allows to explore synergies with the work being carried out by this multilateral agreement.
About the Forum of Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean
The XXIII Meeting of the Forum focuses on strategic discussions on common regional elements that can support increased ambition in terms of achieving concrete environmental goals, taking into account the particularities of the LAC region. The Forum’s ministerial dialogues will focus on means of implementation that facilitate environmental action at the national and regional levels, and also contribute to identifying the positions and priorities of the countries of the region on key issues under the leadership of the Presidency of the Forum, the Bureau and all the region’s Member States, fostering closer collaboration and approaches through the Forum ́s Working Groups and Networks for the implementation of concrete ministerial decisions.
About the UN Environment Programme
The UN Environment Programme is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
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