Creating a strong international network working on the effective implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration
We have through over 15 years of work created a strong international network of civil society organisations fighting for access rights, a right to know, a space to participate and a right to obtain environmental justice. Partners build their capacity to advocate on access rights through the use of the tools the network has created and then advocate for and use access rights effectively in their work. TAI holds bi-annual Global Gatherings to create a space to share information, skills, and resources to achieve on the ground change in countries all around the world.
Promoting Environmental Democracy around the World
The Access Initiave has worked closely with WRI to create the first index in the world that allows activists and champions for environmental democracy to quickly identify the strengths and weaknesses in their laws and practices and take targeted action.The Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) is the first ever publicly available online platform that tracks countries progress to promote transparency, participation and access to justice in environmental decision-making.
Social Accountability for Water and Air: Strengthening the Right to information for People and the Environment
Launched 4 years ago this project focuses on empowering communities to improve their environmental health through demands for information on air and water pollution. The STRIPE project includes a toolkit for civil society to work with communities to analyse the gaps in law and practice in the release of pollution information and the assessment of public participation forums to have their concerns heard. Civil society use their right to information to demand information about the performance of private and public companies to meet national standards on pollution. Partners are empowered through capacity building to make freedom of information requests and use appeal mechancism in their countries. STRIPE focuses on using social accountability tools to transform information to action to demand restoration, clean up and accountability by companies that pollute.
The TAI network has an important role to play in ensuring that domestic action on climate--whether to reduce emissions or build resilience--is transparent, inclusive, and accountable. Global ambition on emissions reductions must increase in the next few years to stay under the 2 degree goal. Dramatically increasing the scale of climate finance to enable adaptation in vulnerable areas must occur rapidly as well. The ability for citizens and stakeholders to access to relevant climate data and information is critical so they can understand risks and opportunities and take meaningful action. Climate policy dialogues should be open and inclusive so that decisions are linked to sustainable development goals, reflect the needs of affected communities, and have buy-in from key agencies and stakeholders. Finally, functioning monitoring, oversight, and enforcement mechanisms are necessary defenses against corruption, the influence of vested interests and insufficient political will. These are most effective if citizens and groups can effectively use courts and tribunals--as TAI member Friends of the Irish Environment is currently doing--to force action.
In 2016, TAI's Global Gathering focused on how open, participatory governance could enhance climate action. Since that time, WRI created an Open Climate Working Group in the Open Government Partnership and TAI members and partners successfully pushed for climate commitments in their countries' National Action Plans in Mexico, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Israel. In 2017 WRI produced several resources to support civil society campaigns and government leaders in their efforts to create more equitable, inclusive, and transparent climate policies, including a brief, talking points, and examples from Latin America and Europe. WRI anticipates even more countries making these commitments--and improving their implementation--in 2018.
WRI also created a topic guide on national climate governance for the UK Department for International Development and a guide for Agence Francaise de Developpment staff. These guides provide a framework through which members can think through their climate governance challenges along with good practice examples from different countries. WRI and TAI are currently developing a climate governance toolkit to support partners in identifying entry points and solutions for climate governance challenges.
TAI supports efforts to have effective natural resource commitments made through the Open Government Partnership. Partners have supported some of the most innovative commitments being made by Governments that have allowed for transformative open government and environment outcomes. TAI Secretariate Director Carole Excell is currently co-anchor of the OGP Openness in Natural Resources Working Group, and jointly produced this report along with partners from the Natural Resources Governance Institute.
Access to Information
The TAI network partners have advocated both for the passage of new Freedom of information laws as well as specific legislation on access to environmental information. Partners have also assessed implementation of right to information laws in their countries. A focus on the proactive release of environmental information ( without the need for a request) is our current focus.
The TAI network has produced some of the most helpful tools to enable the public to understand how to participate in the environmental impact assessment process and in policy dialogues to shape how natural resources are exploited. Our partners have greated guides and manuals to support the publics ability to engage in permit approvals and environmental impact assessment processes and used technology to open up the development approval process. TAI has also created databases of information on the strength and weakness of Environmental impact assessment laws around the world.
Access to Justice
TAI network partners have focused on efforts to build new environmental courts and tribunals and provide support for legal remedies and redress for environmental harm. Our work has also focused on building the capacity of judges and public interest lawyers , as well as reduce costs and increase standing for civil society to take administrative and legal action.
Regional standards for Access rights
TAI has been campaigning and supporting the development of the creation of regional standards for Access rights. While the Aarhus Convention provides a model for access rights in Europe , our focus has been on building a framework for the development of such rights in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. Our largest campaign currently supports the Latin America and Caribbean Regional Principle 10 process which is currently being negotiated.