A recent summit in Paris brought together heads of state, government officials and civil society leaders to discuss the future of open government. Three key messages emerged.
access to information
The Open Government Partnership's Subnational Government Pilot Program supports 15 pioneer local governments as they implement plans to strengthen transparency, access to open data, public engagement and accountability systems.
The climate and open government communities have historically worked in silos. That arrangement can't continue if countries are to successfully implement their national climate plans under the Paris Agreement.
Berta Cáceres famously fought against the Agua Zarca Dam, which would have obstructed the Gualcarque River, a source of food and water for local communities. Her murder is tragic, senseless and unfortunately, indicative of more systemic governance problems.
Satellite data reveals that concessions cover more than half the Malaysian state of Sarawak, often overlapping with sensitive intact forests that are being degraded at one of the highest rates in the world.
Solving the challenges of air and water pollution will require more than the adoption of top-down solutions or greener technology. It will require countries to address key governance challenges, like inaccessible information and a lack of public participation.
Despite the encouraging expansion of environmental democracy around the world, there are still areas where environmental laws are not being properly or fully implemented. The Environmental Democracy Index reveals four areas where practice is not living up to legal standards.
Evaluating "environmental democracy" requires looking not just at the existence of laws, but their implementation.
The need is growing for public access to environmental information, public participation in environmental decision-making and enforcement of environmental laws. Without these rights, explain WRI Managing Director Manish Bapna and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment John Knox, people are left marginalized and powerless.
EPA General Counsel Avi Garbow, renowned environmental attorney Rizwana Hasan and others explained at a recent event why citizens' rights to information, public participation and justice are critical for sustainable development.