The democratic rights of the poor and their capacity to participate in environmental decisions affecting their livelihoods are central to their ability to escape poverty. Yet despite their greater reliance on natural resources to earn their livelihoods, the poor have less say than their richer counterparts in how environmental decisions are made.
In much of the developing world the policies, practices, and institutions of political life serve to exclude a majority of citizens from full participation in public decision-making – especially the poor and socially marginalized. This is true even in many nations that are nominally democratic. Democratic governance is more than merely casting a ballot in periodic elections. It means having opportunities beyond the ballot box to make one