Section 20 of the Constitution of Finland establishes a right to a healthy environment. Among other things, it places the responsibility for protecting the environment on the collective, stating that “Nature and its biodiversity, the environment and the national heritage are the responsibility of everyone.”
A program developed by the Ministry of Environment seeks … Continue readingCollective Commitments to Implement Constitutional Right
In 2008 an Australian company, Coal of Africa (CoAL), applied for a mining right in South Africa on land less than seven kilometres from the boundaries of a UNESCO recognised World Heritage Site called the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape. A civil society organisation called Save Mapungubwe Coalition formed and undertook a wide variety of strategies that included engaging … Continue readingEnvironmental Management Committee (EMC ): A Joint Monitoring Body of Civil Society, Government and the Private Sector in South Africa
In 2009, the Finnish Government implemented the Action Programme on eServices and eDemocracy (SADe), a national development project designed to develop new tools for citizen participation and interaction in land use planning. Launched in June 2013 as part of SADe, Harava is an interactive map-based application being used by municipalities, cities, and local governments … Continue readingHarava, Web-based Participatory Planning
South Africa in some cases has gone beyond responding to requests for environmental information by proactively providing environmental information to the public. For example, the Department of Environmental Affairs has created the South African Waste Information Centre (SAWIC), a website that provides a wide spectrum of information on waste management to the public.
In … Continue readingSouth African Waste Information Centre (SAWIC)
Tarkkailija, a map-based web application launched in 2009, seeks to increase access to information regarding environmental and land use projects in different areas and cities by enabling interested parties to identify themes or locations that they would like the application to monitor. Once users specify the habitat, theme or plan that they would like to monitor, the web … Continue readingTarkkailija (“Observer”) – Web-Based Environmental Information Observer
The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment has published an annual report since 2004 entitled "Environmental Profile of Spain. Indicator-based Report.” This annual publication provides an overview of the environmental situation in Spain, increases the country’s knowledge about the environment, provides specific data, monitors policies intended to … Continue readingEnvironmental Profile of Spain, Providing Ease of Access to Mobile Devices
The project partners conducted a research project on the implementation of Section 20 of the Constitution of Finland, which provides, inter alia, that “The public authorities shall endeavour to guarantee for everyone the right to a healthy environment and for everyone the possibility to influence the decisions that concern their own living environment.” This research … Continue readingResearch on Application of Finland’s Environmental Right
In an effort to support the implementation of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters by providing members of the public with practical resources to exercise their environmental rights under the Aarhus Convention, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) … Continue readingAarhus Centres
As a part of the North-South Local Government Co-operation Programme, the city of Tampere and its Tanzanian partner city of Mwanza have worked together to diminish the gap between Northern and Southern municipalities by opening a channel for cities to exchange knowledge, share policies and shape practices inspiring each other.
Coordinated by the Association of Finnish … Continue readingNorth-South Local Government Co-operation Programme between Finland and Tanzania
The purpose of a Community Advisory Group (CAG) is to provide a public forum for community members to present and discuss their needs and concerns relating to the U.S. government’s program to clean up uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites. CAGs can assist the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in making better decisions on how to clean up a hazardous waste … Continue readingCommunity Advisory Groups
AKOBEN is a programme that makes environmental law and administrative processes more accessible to communities that do not have the capacity to understand the legal system. It uses a five colour rating scheme to assess the performance of mining and manufacturing operations in a manner that is easily understood by the public. Ratings are annually disclosed to the general … Continue readingAKOBEN, Community Environmental Awareness Programme
The purpose of Executive Order 12898 is to focus federal attention on the environmental and human health effects of federal actions, especially on members of minority and low-income groups, as well as on indigenous peoples, with the goal of achieving environmental protection for all communities. The Executive Order requires federal agencies to identify and address any … Continue readingExecutive Order 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations
According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Honduras is one of the most vulnerable countries in Latin America to climate change, with its water resources particularly at risk. Moreover, population growth has led to the increased habitation of low-income populations in areas prone to increased landslides and flooding from climate change-related weather events. This … Continue readingProject on Reducing Climate Change Risks to Water Resources in Honduras
The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), which was enacted in 1966, aims to preserve historic and archaeological properties by requiring federal agencies to consider the effects of their actions on such properties. The NHPA requires federal agencies to determine whether a proposed project is an “undertaking” which has the potential to affect historic sites, … Continue readingUnited States’ National Historic Preservation Act
In January 2014, India’s Minister of Environment and Forests (MEF) blocked an application by Vedanta Resources (Vedanta), a London-based mining company, to clear a forest area to mine for bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. The Dongria and Kutia tribes inhabit the areas surrounding the Niyamgiri hills and believe their god lives in the … Continue readingIndian Minister of the Environment and Forests’ Rejection of Application to Mine the Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha, India
In 2013 the Jordanian Ministry of Environment published the National Climate Change Policy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: 2013-2020, which assesses the impacts from climate change on Jordan and recommends a number of mitigation and adaptation measures.
The Policy integrates a human rights approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation. For example, the … Continue readingNational Climate Change Policy and Sector Guidance Framework
Environmental education is one of the key topics covered by the National Plan of Action for Environment and Sustainable Development (PNAEDD), adopted with the aim to raise awareness and inform the public about the seriousness of the environmental situation in Algeria. Following recommendations of the Algerian National Committee on education reform, the Ministry of … Continue readingEnvironmental Education Programme
Articles 157 and 159 of the Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y la Protección al Ambiente (Environmental Framework Law) establish that the national government must promote public participation in the planning, implementation, evaluation and monitoring of environmental and natural resource policy. The Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría … Continue readingMexican Consejos Consultivos para el Desarrollo Sustentable/Consultative Councils for Sustainable Development
The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was established as the human rights body of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2009 to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of the peoples of ASEAN. The AICHR organised a Workshop on Human Rights, Environment and Climate Change in Yangon, Myanmar from 13 to 15 September … Continue readingASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights Workshop on Human Rights, Environment and Climate Change
Articles 157 y 159 of the Mexican Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y la Protección al Ambiente (Environmental Framework Law) establish that the national government must promote public participation in the planning, implementation, evaluation and monitoring of environmental and natural resource policy. The Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) … Continue readingMexico’s Indice de Participacion Ciudadana del Sector Ambiental (IPC) or Environmental Public Participation Index
The 13th Informal Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) Seminar was held in Copenhagen on 21-23 October 2013 with a thematic focus on Human Rights and the Environment. Established in 1998, the Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights regularly brings together government officials, academics, and civil society representatives from ASEM member countries for dialogues on ASEM priorities. … Continue reading13th Informal Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) Seminar on Human Rights and the Environment
Most countries have adopted specific laws relating to access to information, and some, such as South Africa, have adopted constitutional provisions relating to access to information. In addition, some countries have adopted specific laws or constitutional provisions relating to access to environmental information.
For example, Chile’s environmental framework law (La … Continue readingLaws on Access to Environmental Information
The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Tourism. Among other tasks, it administers the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) programme, a voluntary points-based system created in 1998 to recognize enterprises’ efforts towards environmentally friendly practices and business models. ICT evaluates each participating business … Continue readingCertificación para la Sostenibilidad Turística en Costa Rica/Costa Rica’s Certification for Sustainable Tourism
Most States have adopted environmental impact assessment (EIA) laws, in accordance with principle 17 of the Rio Declaration, which states that “environmental impact assessment, as a national instrument, shall be undertaken for proposed activities that are likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment and are subject to a decision of a competent national … Continue readingPublic Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment Procedures
The Czech Ministry of the Environment (MŽP) has been publishing an Annual Report on the Environment since 1994, and starting in 2005, the Czech Environmental Information Agency (CENIA) has gathered the information that informs the content of the report. The completed report is submitted for approval to the Government of the Czech Republic and subsequently submitted to … Continue readingAnnual Report on the Environment and the Statistical Environmental Yearbook of the Czech Republic
Allowing for public participation in the formulation of environmental laws, regulations and policies is a good practice that can lead to better-informed decisions that reflect the public’s interests and values. Many countries have adopted comprehensive public participation procedures that apply to this context.
For example, in Chile, Article 70 of the Environmental … Continue readingPublic Participation in the Development of Environmental Laws, Policies, and Regulations
The Integrated Pollution Register, created through Czech Law No. 76 of 2002, is a publicly accessible, electronic database documenting environmental pollution from domestic industrial and agricultural facilities. The Register’s objective is to require regular periodical data reporting of releases and transfers of certain substances by companies and offers relevant and … Continue readingCzech Republic’s Integrated Pollution Register
Serbia has created a public online database, the National Meta-Register on Information about Environment (EcoRegister) to provide information related to the environment. The database consists of thousands of documents from a wide range of organisations and institutions, including government agencies, private companies, research organisations, non-governmental … Continue readingNational Meta-Register on Environmental Information (EcoRegister)
Since 2001, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) has operated El Salvador’s Environmental Observatory and its predecessor the National System of Territorial Studies (SNET). The Observatory aims to support environmental management and risk management through systematic observation of potential environmental threats related to meteorological, … Continue readingEl Salvador’s Environmental Observatory
he South African Department of Environmental Affairs publishes an annual report on all enforcement-related activities. This report provides information on statistics for enforcement, including administrative citations and fines issued, criminal cases brought, number of convictions, number of facilities inspected, and number of staff working on compliance monitoring and … Continue readingNational Ministry: South African Department of Environmental Affairs’ Annual Report