Strengthening the Right to Information for People and the Environment (STRIPE)
Improving communities’ health and environment through their right to access information and participate in decision-making
Rapid development has transformed many countries’ economies, but with this growth comes hazardous pollution. Globally, 80% of wastewater contaminated by toxic sludge, industrial chemicals and other pollutants flows untreated into the water that poor communities rely on for everything from their drinking water to their livelihoods. Many of these same communities also suffer from dangerously high air pollution. Each year, 6.5 million people die from causes directly related to air pollution.
A lack of information is a key part of the problem. Despite the passage of Freedom of Information (FOI) laws around the world, people still don’t know if their water is safe to drink or if their air is too dirty to breathe. Worldwide, 80% of countries do not publicly report the amount of pollution that companies discharge. Without this information, local communities cannot voice their concerns, participate in decision-making or hold powerful interests to account.
Strengthening the Right to Information for People and the Environment (STRIPE) helps communities improve their environment and health by exercising their right to access information and participate in environmental decision-making. Working with civil society organizations and local communities, STRIPE:
Assesses countries’ transparency, participation and environmental laws
Evaluates what environmental information is available to the public and the barriers communities face in accessing this information
Works with community members to use FOI laws to request information from governments and tracks the results—how many requests were granted? How many were appealed? Was the information given complete? How much time did officials take to respond?
Analyzes findings to inform local advocacy campaigns that urge governments to improve transparency and proactively release environmental information
Build community members’ capacity to advocate for pollution prevention and restoration
STRIPE is one of The Access Initiative’s (TAI) projects. TAI is the largest civil society network in the world dedicated to ensuring that citizens have the right and ability to influence decisions about the natural resources that sustain their communities. Subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Twitter @TAIGlobal to learn more.