OAS Goodwill Ambassadors for environmental justice work for a Greener Americas

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WASHINGTON, USA – The Goodwill Ambassadors for Environmental Justice of the Organization of American States (OAS) participated in the discussion ” Towards a greener Inter-American region: A renewed, strengthened and sustainable future,” within the framework of the General Assembly of the hemispheric institution.

The Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice of Argentina Ricardo Lorenzetti highlighted that since the secretary-general of the OAS, Luis Almagro, assumed his functions in May 2015, “the Organization has been a promoter of environmental law in all the judicial powers of the region.”

Judge Lorenzetti -who is one of the OAS Goodwill Ambassadors- presented his book “Justice and Environmental Law in the Americas,” that analyzes the evolution of environmental law in the Hemisphere. “We have to think about a new environmental governance,” he said.

In his address, secretary-general Almagro said to build “more just and sustainable societies,” “strong environmental justice and rigorous application of environmental regulations at the national and international level” are needed.

Likewise, secretary-general Almagro and the minister of the supreme court of justice of Brazil and Goodwill Ambassador of the OAS, Antonio Benjamin, highlighted that Lorenzetti’s book constitutes a fundamental contribution to the OAS member states “in efforts to prevent and combat the social effects of the environmental threats we face, thus strengthening justice and promoting regional peace and stability for future generations.”

Secretary-General Almagro and minister Benjamin said the work of Judge Lorenzetti will serve as the basis for “future activities of the OAS” to continue advancing in the development of environmental justice in the region.

In his speech, minister Benjamin explained the General Theory of Environmental Law. “Latin America has made a very strong contribution to the dogmatic development of environmental law in other regions of the world.” In this sense, he said the new framework of legal ideas created in recent years in the region agreed upon to protect the “environmental rule of law” created a “microsystem that encompasses the subsystems of fauna, flora, water and the atmosphere.”

For his part, the minister of the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico and Goodwill Ambassador of the OAS, Alfredo Gutiérrez, said that environmental law in Latin America is conceived as “an autonomous human right.” “The environment has become a supreme legal norm that serves as a parameter of constitutional regularity. The environment is a public good and therefore no one can appropriate it and its use by some cannot exclude others in their usufruct.”

The discussion was organized by the OAS Secretariat for Legal Affairs and included the participation of the president of Colombia, Iván Duque, and the minister of environment and natural resources of Guatemala, Mario Rojas.

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