The Access Initiative

Costa Rica


Environmental Democracy Index Score

Costa Rica scored well on the Transparency and Justice pillars, and received a fair score for the Participation pillar. Costa Rican law requires government authorities to proactively disseminate environmental information to the public, and any person can request environmental information from any branch of the government. However, in practice, data on air and drinking water quality are not made publicly available for the capital city San Jose. For the Participation pillar, the public can participate in decision making relating to most projects that affect the environment; however only certain types of decisions require the government to account for public input in environmental decision making. Regarding the Justice pillar, the law establishes review procedures by which the public can challenge government decisions to deny environmental information requests. While the law provides assistance to women to overcome gender-based barriers to accessing review procedures, there are no financial assistance mechanisms in place to help the poor obtain access to justice. By addressing these issues, Costa Rica could ensure that environmental information is available, the government accounts for public input, and the poor can access review procedures.