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 justice
Threats against environmental defenders are rising in Latin America and the Caribbean. An agreement being negotiated this week could protect the region's activists.
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.
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.