Moving from Principles to Rights

By David Banisar, Article 19, Lalanath de Silva and Carole Excell, The
Access Initiative, World Resources Institute

In the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the international community recognized that sustainable development depends upon good governance. Principle 10 of the Declaration sets out the necessary elements for sound environmental governance – the rights of access to information, public participation, and access to justice. The three “access rights” facilitate more transparent, inclusive and accountable decision-making in matters affecting the environment and development.

This paper argues that governments that have not already done so must establish legal rights to access to information, public participation and justice and all governments must demonstrate that they are implementing these rights. This paper argues that the Rio+20 outcome should include an affirmation of these rights, including a commitment to the development of new global and regional treaties.


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