Environmental Democracy Index Score
Paraguay scored well on the Justice pillar, fair on the Participation pillar, and poor on the Transparency pillar. Despite the fact that the Paraguayan constitution recognizes the right to access environmental information on request, there is no supporting statute that establishes procedures for disseminating environmental information. The government has discretion to determine what type of environmental information to collect and whether to publish it. The public is supposed to be given an opportunity to comment on draft environmental impact assessments (EIAs), but this is after the parameters of a project have been established. The public is not given an opportunity to participate in the development of regulations, policies, plans, or programs. With regard to the Justice pillar, Paraguay scored well, with the public given broad standing to bring environmental claims and the right to challenge both government and private sector decisions that have environmental impacts. It also has strong mechanisms for enforcement in criminal and civil environmental cases. Its score for the Justice pillar was somewhat limited by the lack of positive measures to reduce barriers to justice for poor and marginalized groups.
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The main areas of work of the TAI Paraguay coalition include the training of judges, prosecutors and local governments in environmental law to strengthen access to justice in environmental matters and the judicial defense of access rights. They are also very active publicizing the importance of access rights through the media, and workshops targeted at specific stakeholders.The TAI Paraguay coalition is led by the Instituto de Derecho y Economía Ambiental (IDEA), a think tank which aims to formulate and promote policies for the implementation of a comprehensive sustainable development plan in Paraguay. IDEA organizes public hearings, trains judges, prosecutors and governments officials on the implementation and enforcement of environmental legislation, and promotes innovative tools for the conservation of private land. The TAI Paraguay coalition helped to push for the creation of the “Access to Information Office” in the Paraguayan Ombudsman Office, which has been working successfully since 2006. IDEA was responsible for the whole process that led to its creation, including officers’ training and logistical support. The TAI Paraguay coalition was also influential in advocating for a national Freedom of Information Law, which was passed in 2014. The Paraguay coalition has also been very active in the Principle 10 process for Latin America and the Caribbean.