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.
access to justice
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.
WRI's new Environmental Democracy Index tracks and scores 70 countries' progress in enacting national laws that promote transparency, accountability and citizen engagement in environmental decision-making.
Top ten countries are: Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, United States, South Africa, United Kingdom, Hungary, Bulgaria, Panama and Colombia.
Launch event will be live streamed on May 20, 2015 at 09:30 EDT.
Alda Salomao is the director general of Centro Terra Viva, an organization working to secure community land rights in Mozambique. In an interview with WRI's Celine Salcedo-La Viña, she describes the tension between communities in the Afungi Peninsula and a natural gas project.