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    Finding Eco-Diagnoses for LAC

    By Keith R | June 20, 2008

    Topics: Environmental Protection | No Comments »

          
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    In a prior post on the Temas library of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) legal texts for download, I promised to highlight other changes and additions to the updated site.

    The biggest addition to the site has been the Temas Tools Section, a collection of references and tools that help in understanding, shaping and managing policy in LAC regarding consumer protection, environmental protection, health and safety. In my first post on the new Tools Section, I introduced you to the many maps Temas helps you to find.

    Here I wish to introduce you to the different diagnoses of the state of the environment involving LAC. I collected and organized these into one place as a result of my own frustration about the time and effort it took just to find basic information and data on the state of the environment in LAC nations — a frustration I suspect that many researchers, NGOs, consultants and even corporations have also experienced.

    GEOs

    There are several types of environmental diagnosis we help you obtain. Perhaps best known of these are the “GEO” series. “GEO” was the acronym for “Global Environment Outlook” first prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the mid-1990s. The fourth edition of that global report was released last November.

    After the success of the global report, it was decided to do a series of assessments/outlooks at the sub-global level using a similar format and methodology, with each report an open, collaborative efforts between governments, civil society, experts, academics, etc. Reports were produced for each major region of the globe — the third edition of the report for LAC is due to be released this year.

    Subregional GEOs were also produced for the Andean countries and the English Caribbean, while work is wrapping up on those for MERCOSUR and Central America.

    Country-level GEOs were prepared for many LAC nations (notable by their absence: Colombia, Uruguay, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic). And last but far from least, a long list of LAC cities have GEO reports, including Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago and São Paulo. More are currently in the works for Asunción, Cali and Panama City.

    We’ll Report It Our Way!

    Some nations and cities have done their own “state of” reports in their own way, using their own methodology and manner of reporting. Many, if not most, of these do not involve the same type of transparency and consultative process as do the GEOs. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but it does tend to reduce comparability. In a couple of cases it may have reduced restraints on the tendency of most governments to put the very best face on the state of the local environment and what the government is (or is not) doing about it.

    There are a handful of comprehensive reports, and far more specialized reports on air quality and water resources.

    Third Party Assessments

    We should also point out that a few LAC nations have had general environment assessment reports prepared by respected third parties such as the World Bank or Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and you can find these in our Temas Reading List section on country studies.

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