Access to a clean, healthy, safe environment is a human right. Safeguarding these substantive rights for all communities benefits the planet and moves us toward a more just future. Ensuring that everyone, everywhere, has the voice, power and information to steer environmental decision-making — known as procedural rights — is also critical to advancing sustainable, equitable development.

Yet, from failing to uphold legal commitments to not meaningfully engaging with vulnerable and marginalized communities, nations are not protecting procedural rights. This can pose immense hardships to communities and hinder progress in the environmental movement.

WRI partners with Indigenous and local communities, civil society organizations, environmental and land defenders, development institutions and governments to strengthen both substantive and procedural environmental rights around the world.

We achieve this through various initiatives and platforms that:

  • Identify the obstacles that prevent poor, vulnerable communities from realizing their rights, receiving the benefits of addressing injustices and participating in decision-making.  

  • Help communities strengthen land rights. 

  • Recommending policies for governments to implement gender equity. 

  • Work with communities and countries to achieve ambitious environmental rights commitments based on open, accessible data. 

  • Mobilize civil society organizations that amplify local voices and advance legislation that safeguards procedural rights.  

Photo credit: CIFOR/Flickr