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Faces of Open Government: Joara Marchezini

Rostros de Gobierno Abierto: Joara Marchezini

Joara Marchezini is a specialist on access to information and the Public’s Representative to the Escazu Agreement. Joara, originally from Brazil, sat down with OGP to discuss the role of open government in advancing environmental democracy and what we can expect from the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Escazu Agreement taking place in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the end of the month.


You have been involved in the Escazu Agreement for many years, being a part of various meetings and conferences that led to its creation. Can you tell us why this is so important and what makes it different from other agreements/conferences?

The Escazu Agreement focuses on access to information, public participation, and access to justice in environmental issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is also the first international agreement with specific provisions to protect human rights defenders. But that’s not the only thing that makes it special. The active participation of civil society, also called “the public”, throughout the negotiation process and its support implementing it is what characterizes the Agreement and drives it. The public has contributed to the content and decisions of the Agreement, bringing Escazu closer to reality at a national and local levels. Meetings where the Agreement is discussed are open, held in two languages ​​(English and Spanish) and count with the significant participation of the public, which is also involved in the Agreement’s working groups and board of directors (in the latter case, through representatives of the public).

Recently you were elected as the Public Representative of the Escazú Agreement. Can you tell us more about that role and what inspired you to pursue it?

There are six people from the region elected as representatives of the public: four from Latin America and two from the Caribbean of which three are men and three are women, to respect regional and gender balance. We support members of the public so they can participate in an informed and articulated manner in meetings and processes. We also facilitate public meetings and actively participate in meetings with the Board of Directors of the Agreement and with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL), among others. We also participate in training events, meetings with national organizations and regional networks and we answer any questions that the public may have while defending the public’s position in different meetings. We contribute to the dissemination of the Escazú Agreement, even supporting the production of communications materials. In a nutshell, I would say that we are like “the diplomats of the public”. 

I could summarize my motivations in 2 points: I wanted more people in Brazil to be aware of the Agreement and to get involved, and since most of the materials are in Spanish and English, it seemed important to me to have a Representative who spoke Portuguese. I also wanted to offer my knowledge and experience to support the transition between incoming and outgoing representatives since I’ve been part of these processes for the last ten years. I believe in that process and in the hope that the Agreement represents.

What can the open government community do to implement the Escazú Agreement in their countries of origin? And how can they and the Escazú community take advantage of a platform like OGP?

There are many synergies between the Escazú Agreement and the Open Government Partnership and opportunities for both processes can support each other. For example, some countries have defined actions to implement the Escazú Agreement in their open government commitments, such as Ecuador and Argentina. On the other hand, OGP is very structured and has tools for evaluation and monitoring, and can offer examples of co-creation between government and civil society. I believe that the lessons learned from open government and its instrumentalization could be very useful tools for the development of the Escazú Agreement.

4. The second meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Escazú Agreement will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from April 19 to 21. what do you expect will come out of this COP and what would be your message to all the reformers there?

We hope that the second COP will be marked by a great mobilization of the public, and that it will continue to participate and support the Escazú Agreement. Civil society in Argentina is very active and we will surely have many events and a lot dialogue. We also expect the people elected to the Implementation and Compliance Support Committee to be people committed to the principles and standards of Escazu, and that they are able to dialogue with the public and keep the spirit of independence and ethics necessary for that position. I think one of the messages thatI would like to emphasize is to encourage more people to get involved in the Agreement and to help us promote it to get closer and closer to its goals: to promote the protection of the environment and those who defend it.

Comments (1)

Alberto Contreras Reply

Importante conocer el proceso , del Tratado de Escazu de Colombia…adónde hay mucha Corrupción

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