Learning Exchange: Legal Empowerment to Address Environmental Injustices in Latin America

In April 2022, the Legal Empowerment Network and Fiscalía del Medio Ambiente (FIMA) hosted a learning exchange for members from across Latin America.

A total of 18 representatives from 10 countries across the region gathered near Santiago de Chile for the exchange, which went by the title “Empoderamiento jurídico para abordar injusticias ambientales en América Latina” (Legal Empowerment to Address Environmental Injustices in Latin America).

Participating organizations use legal empowerment approaches to defend and protect the environment and natural resources, alongside indigenous, afro-descendant, rural and urban communities who face environmental injustices and basic rights violations.


Over the course of 5 days, the participants shared experiences and work strategies, identified common challenges and outlined possible next steps in the region.

The exchange included sessions on legal empowerment methods, access rights, the Escazú Agreement, power relations and protection, as well as the opportunity to get to know more about Chile’s constitutional process, which is a clear historical example of how to shape the law.

This was the first in-person event of the Legal Empowerment Network in Latin America since the pandemic started, and the atmosphere was vibrant. The exchange was also the first thematic regional learning exchange, and a foundational step towards jointly building a regional agenda on legal empowerment and environmental justice in the region.

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“[I would like to] thank the [Legal Empowerment] Network and FIMA for being a part of this exchange, because only the fact of being gathered here, those of us with similar work and perspectives in many ways, encouraged me and brings me hope. But in addition I do take with me elements to bring and discuss within my organization, with regards to legal empowerment work, as well as specific ideas to improve the work that we are already doing, so thank you!”

“For me it was a space to look at issues from a regional perspective, to understand that there are patterns and issues that require a regional approach. In addition, to know the work of the organizations and their successes was essential to acquire perspective regarding the local work.”

“A highly nourishing space, since knowing what others are doing, and the perspectives that they have, allows us to somehow stop, and look at our own work to revise it (look at what’s missing but also what we have achieved) and think of new ideas to implement, but also to improve what we already do.”

“I think it was a very valuable experience. To be able to meet in person, to share our knowledge during a meal and in more relaxed spaces, it allows that the ties [and relationships] that are built, are deeper and more nourishing.”

“I believe that this exchange shows that small, medium and large organizations have similar perspectives; the differences are in our reach capacity, derived from the resources we have. […] Spaces like these must work to, jointly, take forward joint actions, uniting the larger organizations with more grassroots organizations, and the very same communities.”


  1. Anita Peña Saavedra, Mujeres de Zona de Sacrificio en Resistencia de Quintero y Puchuncaví – MUZOSARE (Chile)
  2. Cussi Alfredo Alegria Almeida, Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales – DAR (Peru)
  3. Daniel Lopes Faggiano, Instituto Maíra (Brazil)
  4. Donald Hernández Palma, Centro Hondureño de Promoción Para el Desarrollo Comunitario – CEHPRODEC (Honduras)
  5. Esteban Mario Macce Escalante, CooperAcción (Peru)
  6. Fabiola Vite Torres, Centro de Derechos Humanos Zeferino Ladrillero (Mexico)
  7. Felipe Pino y Macarena Martinic, Fiscalía del Medio Ambiente – FIMA (Chile)
  8. Florencia Díaz Peccinetti, Xumek, Asociación para la Promoción y protección de Derechos Humanos (Argentina)
  9. Guido Lautaro Costantini, Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales AC – ProDESC (Mexico)
  10. Itzel Silva Monroy, Fundar Centro de Análisis e Investigación, A.C. (Mexico)
  11. Juan Bautista López, Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables – FUNDEPS (Argentina)
  12. Juliana Bravo Valencia, EarthRights International (Peru)
  13. Laura Palmese Hernández, Instituto de Derecho Ambiental de Honduras – IDAMHO (Honduras)
  14. Laura Santacoloma, Dejusticia (Colombia)
  15. Luis Alonso González Ayala, Unidad Ecológica Salvadoreña – UNES (El Salvador)
  16. María Alejandra Aguilar, Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad (Colombia)
  17. Natalia Paola Rodríguez Olmedo, Tierraviva a los Pueblos Indígenas del Chaco (Paraguay)
  18. Sebastián Pilo, Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia – ACIJ (Argentina)
  19. Zonia Zacarías, Consejo de Mujeres Indígenas y Biodiversidad – CMIB (Guatemala)