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 before an independent and fair legal authority in cases of environmental harm or violation of rights.
The EDI is the first comprehensive index designed specifically to measure procedural rights in an environmental context. EDI uses as an international standard The United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Bali Guidelines for the Development of National Legislation on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters. National laws can be assessed against this international standard.
With the credible measurement EDI provides, citizens and governments will be able to identify and understand the extent to which environmental democracy rights are being strengthened or weakened around the world.
By establishing a centralized hub of legal analysis on procedural rights, EDI provides a critical tool to help address global environmental problems such as air and water pollution, extractive industry impacts and biodiversity loss. The results will help establish both best practices and areas for improvement.