Environmental Governance in the Euro-Latin American Space

Adapted from a paper presented by Professor Roberto Dominguez at Governance Innovation Week, University of Pretoria, 1-5 June 2015.

June 2015

This policy brief examines the European Union’s (EU) contributions to environmental governance in Latin America over the past two decades. Two elements are salient in characterising environmental governance in the EU-Latin American relationship. The first is the weak economic relationship between the two regions. While there are deep cultural roots between Latin America and individual EU countries, trade relations remain at a modest level. This gives the EU a relatively low level of leverage over Latin American countries compared to, for example, European neighbourhood countries. In addition, other closer trading partners, such as the US, have much more opportunity to promote environmental governance through instruments such as Free Trade Agreements. The second element is the apparent low priority of the environment on the bi-regional agenda. While the environment does appear in high-level speeches and strategies it is usually mentioned only briefly and secondary to issues of trade and investment. From 2000 onwards, however, the environment has gradually increased in profile in EU development programmes in Latin America both at a regional level and within individual countries. This review of EU environmental programmes and projects in Latin America indicates that, through the EU’s development cooperation, the environment could play a significant and increasing role in Euro-Latin American relations.

Read more: PB Dominguez