Constitutions, rights and law

First ever Environmental Democracy Index

The Access Initiative and the World Resources Institute are launching the first ever Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) on May 20th. EDI is the first index to measure how well countries’ national laws protect environmental democracy rights, namely, the right of the public to: freely access relevant and timely information, provide input and scrutiny in decision-making, and seek justice...

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The State of Europe’s Environment

In March the European Environment Agency  published its State and Outlook Environment Report (SOER) 2015 (available here). The report highlights innovations in governance needed for long term sustainability. In addition, a section of the SOER website highlights global megatrends affecting the European Environment, one of which is Diversifying Approaches to Governance. Authors suggest key factors in diversifying...

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Our foreign pollution from imported goods

How should we account for the fact that a great deal of environmental damage associated with one’s own country actually occurs overseas? For example, Chinese manufacturers making our shoes, electronics and bicycles emit a lot of carbon on our behalf. Are these emissions on our ‘to do’ list in terms of the task of reducing overall global emissions?...

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Aarhus Convention – access to environmental information, public participation and justice

AARHUS convention

The Aarhus Convention (UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters) has been ratified by 46 countries and the EU. It is rights-based, enabling current and future people to access information in government decision-making on any matters concerning the local, national and transboundary environment. It also promotes...

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The Brazilian Public Prosecutor’s Office defends minorities, the environment, consumers and civil society

Brazil/Parana/Siproeta Stelenes Meridionalis/Malachite/Iguassu Falls by dany13; Creative Commons Licence.

The Brazilian Public Prosecutor’s Office comprises public prosecutors at federal and state level. Operating independently of the three branches of government it has been seen by some commentators as a ‘Fourth Power’ of government. As well as prosecuting crimes, the Brazilian Constitution authorizes the Office to bring action against private companies and individuals as well as...

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The South African Constitution gives people the right to sustainable development

The South African Constitution gives people, including future generations, the right to sustainable development: “to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and...

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