Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Globalizing Environmental Governance: Making the Leap From Regional Initiatives on Transparency, Participation, and Accountability in Environmental Matters

April 2002

Citation: ELR 10428

Author: Carl E. Bruch & Roman Czebiniak

In recent years, the critical role of civil society and the public in protecting the environment has become clear. International declarations and agreements increasingly recognize that individuals, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and local governments are central to the sustainable management of natural resources and protection of critically important areas. Countries have given life to environmental governance principles by establishing institutions that guarantee public access to the decisionmaking processes, as well as by creating and clarifying substantive rights to information, participation, and justice.

Regional organizations have also advanced environmental governance in their Member countries. The United Nations (U.N.) Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) convened a process that led to the creation of the 1998 UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention).1 Similarly, in April 2000, the Organization of American States (OAS) adopted the Inter-American Strategy for the Promotion of Public Participation in Decisionmaking for Sustainable Development (ISP).2 Still ongoing, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is developing Elements of Good Practice in the draft document Towards Good Practices for Public Involvement in Environmental Policies, which is expected to be adopted in 2002.3 Other regions of the world have implemented similar initiatives: the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC),4 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Cooperation on Environmental Management5 in East Africa, and the Charter of Civil Society for the Caribbean Community.6

Carl Bruch is a Senior Attorney and Coordinator of the Partnership for Public Participation at the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) in Washington, D.C. Roman Czebiniak is a Law Fellow at ELI. The authors have drawn upon the ideas of many talented individuals who have given their time and thoughts to this endeavor, including Gregory Block, John Bonine, Jorge Caillaux, Ziola Giron, Svitlana Kravchenko, Somrudee Nicro, Elissa Parker, Godber Tumushabe, Martin Wagner, and Jeremy Wates. Mr. Czebiniak would also like to thank Richard B. Stewart and Philippe Sands for their inspiration. Any errors or mistakes in the text are solely those of the authors.

You must be a News & Analysis subscriber to download the full article.

You are not logged in. To access this content: