Four environmental defenders are murdered every week in Latin America and the Caribbean. A new regional agreement aims to protect them and provide all citizens with environmental rights.
access to information
Threats against environmental defenders are rising in Latin America and the Caribbean. An agreement being negotiated this week could protect the region's activists.
Improving communities’ health and environment through their right to access information and participate in decision-making
Improving transparency of concessions data—the who, what, when and where of commercial activities that drive over 60% of global deforestation—is critical to preventing forest loss.
This working paper gives an overview of the availability of information for land concessions in 14 forested countries, with a special focus on open spatial information. More specifically, this paper examines the legal framework for granting concessions, laws governing the disclosure of spatial concessions data, and the completeness and quality of concessions data in each country.
Recent actions from the Trump administration could not only undermine the government's ability to protect the environment and public health, they erode the foundations of good governance.
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.
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.
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.
The environmental democracy rights of access to information, public participation, and access to justice in environmental matters have gained currency as key drivers of informed, accountable decision making and citizen empowerment.