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Updates on Environmental Matters in Latin America: January – April 2023

Read in Spanish/Leer en Español.


This GT Alert highlights significant environmental news in several countries throughout Latin America from January to April 2023.

A. Argentina

Inauguration of the Second Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Escazú Agreement.

Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernández, inaugurated the Second Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Escazú Agreement at the Kirchner Cultural Center in Buenos Aires.

Chile participated as a member for the first time after President Gabriel Boric Font signed the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation, and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, approved in Escazú, Costa Rica, on March 4, 2018.

Discussions focused on the current environmental crisis.

B. Brazil

Brazil launches platform to detect climate-vulnerable lands.

The Ministry of Integration and Regional Development (MIDR) of Brazil and Microsoft Brazil launched the ClimaAdapt platform, a tool that utilizes public data from various environmental agencies to identify regions in the country particularly vulnerable to extreme weather phenomena.

The platform also provides two specific models, one to assess sea-level rise as a result of climate change and another to identify critical segments of federal and state roads in order to detect flood-prone areas and landslides.

Brazil reestablishes working group to address climate change.

Brazilian Environmental Minister Marina Silva announced, together with U.S. Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, that the Brazilian government would reestablish a working group to address the effects of climate change, with a particular focus on combating deforestation in the Amazon and protecting indigenous communities.

The group, initially created in 2015, will resume its activities with the aim of establishing priorities for joint action between the two countries and working on issues of fair transition and inclusion for decarbonizing the economy.

C. Chile

Chile hosts UN meeting on climate change.

Over 400 experts from around the world gathered in Santiago, Chile for the opening day of a week-long United Nations (UN) meeting on climate change and methods to address its effects and challenges.

The meeting focused on analyzing national adaptation plans as well as the key instruments to guide planning and implementation of climate change mitigation strategies in Chile and other countries.

D. Mexico

Senate approves Initiative to Reform Various Provisions of the Mining Law and Related Environmental Laws regarding Mining and Water Concessions.

On April 20, 2023, Mexico’s House of Representatives approved the Initiative presented by the United Commissions on Mining and Regional Development, amending various provisions of the Mining Law, the National Water Law, the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection, and the General Law for the Prevention and Comprehensive Management of Waste regarding mining and water concessions.

Subsequently, the Initiative was sent to the Senate and approved on April 28, 2023, without modification.

The Initiative was then sent to the federal executive. It will take effect after its publication in the Official Gazette of the Federation. Click here for a GT Alert comparing the original and amended version of each law.

E. Panama

Conference on the Oceans held in Panama results in 341 commitments.

Attendees at the Conference on the Oceans held in Panama agreed on 341 commitments to protect the seas.

The commitments include measures to protect the marine ecosystem and combat pollution, illegal fishing, and other threats, for which approximately USD 19.7 billion will be allocated, including USD 865 million from the European Union and USD 6 billion from the United States.

During the event, approximately 600 delegates from various governments, NGOs, companies, and international organizations participated in negotiations at the UN seeking an agreement to protect the ocean. The delegates did not vote on or reach any agreements, but they did announce commitments.

The governments of Panama and France also expressed their intention to explore measures to mitigate biodiversity damage caused by the migrant travel through the Darien jungle, bordering Colombia.

* Special thanks to Paula Maria De Uriarte˘ for her valuable contributions to this GT Alert.
˘ Not admitted to the practice of law.