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Greening Governance Seminar Series: Coming Clean: Improving Transparency and Accountability to End Pollution’s Chokehold on Development

Join expert speakers from UNEP Regional Office for North America, The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health and WRI for a conversation on how transparent, accountable governance can accelerate cleanup efforts around the world.

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Hashtag: #BeatPollution

Pollution kills more people each year than all war and violence in the world — more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Nearly 92% of these deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries, disproportionately impacting poor communities who depend most on the health of their environment. Hazardous chemicals leach into the groundwater they drink, toxic sludge flows untreated into the waterways they fish, and noxious fumes from nearby industrial plants seep into the air they breathe. Failure to act not only threatens their lives and livelihoods, but it also costs the world $4.6 trillion per year.

Yet those who pay the price of rising pollution are often unable to stop it. Weak laws, ineffective regulations and poor enforcement are commonplace around the world. A lack of information is also a key part of the problem, handicapping local communities’ attempts to take matters into their own hands. They cannot spearhead local cleanup efforts, push their governments to enforce regulations or seek redress from polluting industries.

Join newly appointed Regional Director for United Nations Environment Programme’s North America Office Barbara Hendrie, Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health author Karti Sandilya and environmental democracy specialist Elizabeth Moses for a discussion on pollution, poverty and social accountability. Together, they will highlight steps — from improving access to environmental information to building judiciary capacity to enforce pollution regulations — that governments, civil society leaders and people around the world can take to tackle pollution.


Barbara HendrieDirector, North America Office, United Nations Environment Programme

Karti SandilyaSenior Advisor, Pure Earth and Author, The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health

Elizabeth MosesResearch Analyst II, Environmental Democracy, World Resources Institute

Moderated by Mark RobinsonGlobal Director, Governance, World Resources Institute

About the Series

WRI's Greening Governance Seminar Series bridges the divide between the governance and environmental communities to identify solutions that benefit people and the planet.

  • Why do some environmental policies succeed in one country but fail in another?
  • What will it take to transform the Paris Agreement’s ambitious commitments into actionable policies?
  • How can decision-makers engage a range of stakeholders, from average citizens to Fortune 500 companies, to build support for policies that protect natural resources and the communities that depend on them?
  • How can governments sustain this environmental action across election cycles?

Many of the answers to these questions are, at heart, issues of governance.

Increasing public participation in environmental decision-making can deepen civil society’s commitment to climate change mitigation and yield more equitable, effective policies. Enhancing government transparency equips communities with the information that they need to engage in these policy-making processes. Strengthening accountability frameworks helps ensure that governments make progress on their Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets. In short, good governance can improve climate and environmental outcomes.

Yet the governance and climate communities continue to work in silos, conducting research and implementing programs that remain largely divorced from one another.

WRI’s Greening Governance Seminar Series seeks to bridge this divide by bringing together leading experts from both fields to discuss the intersection of their work, the most pressing environmental governance issues at hand, and solutions that benefit people and the planet.



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