Costa Rican Ombudsperson’s Environmental Actions

he Office of the Ombudsperson is an independent body of the Costa Rican Legislature, which has the general responsibility of protecting the rights and interests of Costa Ricans by ensuring that the public sector meets standards set by the Constitution, statutes, conventions, treaties and general principles of law, as well as standards of morality and justice. It has the …   Continue readingCosta Rican Ombudsperson’s Environmental Actions

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Actions on Environment

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights was established under Article 59 of the Kenyan Constitution to (among other things): monitor, investigate and report on the observance of human rights; receive and investigate complaints about alleged abuses of human rights; and take steps to secure appropriate redress where human rights have been violated. Article 69 of the …   Continue readingKenya National Commission on Human Rights Actions on Environment

Actions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights sets out a wide spectrum of human rights, including, in Article 24, the right of all peoples to “a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development”, and in Article 16(1), the right of every individual “to enjoy the best attainable state of physical and mental health.” The Charter established …   Continue readingActions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

UN Economic Commission for Europe, Aarhus Clearinghouse for Environmental Democracy

The Aarhus Clearinghouse is a forum to provide information on good practices relevant to the public’s right to access environmental information, participate in environmental decision-making, and achieve justice on environmental matters, areas that are covered by the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice …   Continue readingUN Economic Commission for Europe, Aarhus Clearinghouse for Environmental Democracy

Ombudsperson on Human Rights’ Focus on Environment

The 1990 Constitution established the Institution of the Ombudsperson of Croatia and mandates it to promote and protect human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, laws and international human rights treaties that Croatia has ratified. Since 2013, Croatia’s current Ombudsperson has implemented three specific areas of work that address environmental issues. …   Continue readingOmbudsperson on Human Rights’ Focus on Environment

National Inquiry as an Investigation Strategy of the Malaysian National Human Rights Commission

The National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) uses “national inquiries” in order to look into systemic human rights issues. By adopting a broad-based human rights approach, the Commission can examine a large situation as opposed to an individual complaint. National inquiries have a dual focus, fulfilling both fact finding and educational roles. SUHAKAM …   Continue readingNational Inquiry as an Investigation Strategy of the Malaysian National Human Rights Commission

Mendoza Beatriz Silva v. National Government of Argentina

Section 41 of Argentina’s Constitution states: “All inhabitants are entitled to the right to a healthy and balanced environment fit for human development in order that productive activities shall meet present needs without endangering those of future generations; and shall have the duty to preserve it. As a first priority, environmental damage shall bring about the …   Continue readingMendoza Beatriz Silva v. National Government of Argentina

(Aarhus) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

The Aarhus Convention is a regional instrument on the rights to access of information, participation, and access to justice, enshrined in Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration. Adopted in June 1998, the Aarhus Convention states that in order to “contribute to the protection of the right of every person of present and future generations to live in an environment …   Continue reading(Aarhus) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

Regional Instrument on the Rights of Access to Information, Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean

During the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, ten States from the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region subscribed to a Declaration on Principle 10. By 2014, nine more countries had signed the Declaration, representing more than half of all LAC countries. The signatory countries, which include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Jamaica, expressed their …   Continue readingRegional Instrument on the Rights of Access to Information, Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean

Mexican National Human Rights Commission’s Environmental Actions

In Mexico, the Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH) has played an important part in addressing environmental harms. A constitutional reform in 1999 gave the CNDH full autonomy as an agency with its own budget. The mandate of the CNDH is to “protect, observe, promote, study, and disseminate the human rights protected by the Mexican legal system.” To this …   Continue readingMexican National Human Rights Commission’s Environmental Actions

Asian Judges Symposium on Environmental Decision Making, the Rule of Law, and Environmental Justice and the Asian Judges Network on Environment

In July 2010, the Asian Development Bank hosted the first of three Asian Judges Symposiums on Environmental Decision Making, the Rule of Law, and Environmental Justice. Around 120 senior judges, environment ministry officials, members of civil society, and experts in environmental law discussed ways to promote environment protection through effective environmental …   Continue readingAsian Judges Symposium on Environmental Decision Making, the Rule of Law, and Environmental Justice and the Asian Judges Network on Environment

Bali Guidelines for the Development of National Legislation on Access to Information, Public Participation, and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

The Bali Guidelines were adopted by the Governing Council of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in its decision SS.XI/5, part A of 26 February 2010. They are a set of 26 voluntary guidelines that aim to provide general guidance to States on promoting “the effective implementation of their commitments to Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and …   Continue readingBali Guidelines for the Development of National Legislation on Access to Information, Public Participation, and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice’s Judgment in Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) v. Nigeria

Articles 6 and 15 of the Revised Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) establish the ECOWAS Court of Justice. The Court is mandated to ensure the observance of law and of the principles of equity, and to interpret and apply the provisions of the revised ECOWAS Treaty and all other subsidiary legal instruments adopted by ECOWAS. Among its other …   Continue readingEconomic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice’s Judgment in Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) v. Nigeria

Decision of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice: Amparo No. 631/2012 (Independencia Aqueduct)

The Yacqui Tribe from Sonora, Mexico, filed an amparo action against the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT/Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources) concerning the construction of the Independencia aqueduct, which is designed to remove 60 million cubic metres of water from the Yaqui River to supply water to the city of Hermosillo. …   Continue readingDecision of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice: Amparo No. 631/2012 (Independencia Aqueduct)

Land and Environment Court of New South Wales

Established in September 1980, the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales is the first specialist environmental superior court in the world. Located in Sydney, the court’s purposes include safeguarding and maintaining: equality of all before the law; access to justice; and fairness, impartiality and independence in decision-making processes that are consistently …   Continue readingLand and Environment Court of New South Wales

Citizen Suit Provisions in Environmental Law

Many of the federal environmental laws in the United States allow members of the public to initiate lawsuits in federal court against actors, including corporations, that violate requirements imposed pursuant to federal environmental laws and regulations. Although these provisions are colloquially referred to as authorizations for “citizen suits,” they do not require …   Continue readingCitizen Suit Provisions in Environmental Law

Environmental Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), based in Strasbourg, was established in 1959 with the mandate to review alleged violations of the civil and political rights set out in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Since 1998, individuals can apply to the Court directly. The Court and the Convention are an essential part of …   Continue readingEnvironmental Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights

Nordic Environmental Protection Convention

The Nordic Environmental Protection Convention, which entered into force on 5 October 1976, promotes international cooperation in remedying transboundary environmental harm by, among other things, allowing reciprocal access to domestic legal remedies between residents of State Parties to the treaty. Article 2 of the Convention incorporates the principle of …   Continue readingNordic Environmental Protection Convention

Brazilian Ministerio Publico’s Environmental Actions

Article 225 of the Brazilian Constitution states: “All have the right to an ecologically balanced environment, which is an asset of common use and essential to a healthy quality of life, and both the Government and the community shall have the duty to defend and preserve it for present and future generations.” The 1988 Brazilian Constitution provides the Ministerio …   Continue readingBrazilian Ministerio Publico’s Environmental Actions

Environmental Democracy Index

The World Resources institute (WRI) is a global research organization that works at “the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being.” The Access Initiative is a global network of civil society organisations that promote access to information, participation and justice in environmental decision-making. WRI and The Access Initiative (TAI) are …   Continue readingEnvironmental Democracy Index

Hungary’s Ombudsman for Future Generations

Article P of Hungary’s Constitution provides that: “Natural resources, in particular arable land, forests and the reserves of water, biodiversity, in particular native plant and animal species, as well as cultural assets shall form the common heritage of the nation; it shall be the obligation of the State and everyone to protect and maintain them, and to preserve them …   Continue readingHungary’s Ombudsman for Future Generations

Faciladores Judiciales (Judicial Facilitators)

The Organisation of American States (OAS) began implementing a pilot of the judicial facilitators programme in Nicaragua in the late 1990s and it has grown to a well-established initiative in multiple Latin American countries. The objective of the programme is to improve access to justice among local communities where there have historically been barriers to access to …   Continue readingFaciladores Judiciales (Judicial Facilitators)

Canada-U.S. Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act (Model Law)

In 1982, a liaison committee of the U.S. National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and the Canadian Uniform Law Conference drafted a model law entitled the Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act. Its key provision states that “[a] person who suffers, or is threatened with, injury to his person or property in a reciprocating jurisdiction …   Continue readingCanada-U.S. Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act (Model Law)

Jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of India Relating to Environmental Protection

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution of 1949 provides for the fundamental rights to protection of life and personal liberty, stating that “[n]o person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” The Indian Supreme Court in a series of decisions has connected Article 21 with a right to a healthy …   Continue readingJurisprudence of the Supreme Court of India Relating to Environmental Protection

Environmental Jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the Philippines

The Philippines’ Constitution includes as a State policy that “[t]he State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.” The first major case the Court decided with regard to this clause was the Minors Oposa case, in which the plaintiffs filed a class action law suit on behalf …   Continue readingEnvironmental Jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the Philippines

China’s Revised Environmental Protection Law

In April 2014, China adopted a new framework Environmental Protection Law that entered into force on 1 January 2015. The Law incorporated a wide range of procedural rights guarantees relating to environmental information disclosure, public participation, and access to justice. Chapter V of the Law addresses environmental information disclosure and public participation. …   Continue readingChina’s Revised Environmental Protection Law

India’s National Green Tribunal

India has created a “green tribunal” to address environmental harms. The National Green Tribunal, which has been operating since July 2011, was established for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources. The Tribunal may provide relief and compensation to victims of pollution …   Continue readingIndia’s National Green Tribunal

Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases

The Supreme Court of the Philippines has enacted Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases that include many mechanisms to facilitate petitioners to bring cases before the Court. The Rules, which list as an objective “[t]o protect and advance the constitutional right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology,” include a broad standing provision for citizens …   Continue readingRules of Procedure for Environmental Cases

Environmental Administrative Tribunal

The Environmental Administrative Tribunal, created by the Costa Rican government in its 1995 Environment Act No. 7554, has jurisdiction to hear complaints for violations of all laws protecting the environment and natural resources (art. 111). The Tribunal can carry out on-site visits to determine the nature of environmental damage, and when it finds that a violation has …   Continue readingEnvironmental Administrative Tribunal

Indigenous Peoples’ Property Rights – Jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights applies and interprets the American Convention on Human Rights in respect to the 20 State Parties who have agreed to the Court’s contentious jurisdiction. Only a State Party or the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has the capacity to bring cases before the Court. The Court has developed a strong jurisprudence on …   Continue readingIndigenous Peoples’ Property Rights – Jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Provedor de Justiça Portuguesa (Portuguese Ombudsperson) Actions on Environmental Protection

Article 23 of the Portuguese Constitution provides that “Citizens may submit complaints against actions or omissions by the public authorities to the Ombudsperson, who shall assess them without the power to take decisions and shall send the competent bodies such recommendations as may be necessary in order to prevent or make good any injustices.” Article 67 of the …   Continue readingProvedor de Justiça Portuguesa (Portuguese Ombudsperson) Actions on Environmental Protection

Amparo Cause of Action and the Principle of Intereses Difusos in Costa Rica

Article 48 of the Costa Rican Constitution provides for the remedy of amparo in order to maintain or re-establish the enjoyment of rights set out in the Constitution, as well as those of a fundamental nature established in international human rights treaties enforceable in Costa Rica. The amparo cause of action has been construed very broadly, to allow …   Continue readingAmparo Cause of Action and the Principle of Intereses Difusos in Costa Rica

Measures of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission to Protect Environmental Human Rights Defenders

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (the Court), which applies and interprets the American Convention on Human Rights in respect to the 20 State Parties that have agreed to the Court’s contentious jurisdiction, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the organ responsible for promoting the observance and defence of human rights in all Member …   Continue readingMeasures of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission to Protect Environmental Human Rights Defenders

National Meta-Register on Environmental Information (EcoRegister)

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)

The Environmental Jurisprudence of Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Chamber of the Costa Rican Supreme Court has actively implemented the constitutional right to a healthy environment. Since 1995, much of the case law of the Constitutional Chamber has concerned the application of article 50 of the Costa Rican Constitution, which sets forth the right to a healthy environment. The Constitutional Chamber has defined the …   Continue readingThe Environmental Jurisprudence of Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court

Cost Rules for Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

Ireland’s Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 seeks to minimize costs associated with qualifying environmental cases by requiring parties, with some exceptions noted below, to bear their own costs in litigation. According to the Act, the cost provisions apply to a “civil proceeding for the purpose of ensuring compliance with, or the enforcement of, a …   Continue readingCost Rules for Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

The Access Initiative

The Access Initiative (TAI), which was established in 1999, is a global network of more than 150 civil society organisations that promote the procedural rights of access to information, public participation, and justice in environmental decision-making. Member organisations from around the world carry out evidence-based advocacy to encourage collaboration and innovation …   Continue readingThe Access Initiative