Zimbabwe

1.51

Environmental Democracy Index Score

Zimbabwe scored well on the Transparency and Justice pillars, and received a fair score for the Participation pillar. There is an established right to access environmental information and most government authorities are obligated to proactively disseminate environmental information to the public. However, there is no requirement to release relevant and timely information during environmental emergencies. For the Participation pillar, the law requires the public to have opportunities to participate in decision making on most matters that may have impact the environment. However, only a few laws require government agencies to seek public input during the preparation of environmental policies and programs. For the Justice pillar, the public can challenge government decisions to deny environmental information requests, but there are no mechanisms to ensure that procedures for enforcing environmental laws will be completed in a timely manner. By addressing these issues, Zimbabwe could ensure that more environmental information is publicly disclosed, the government seeks input from the public on environmental decisions, and review procedures will be completed promptly.

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As Zimbabwe underwent constitutional reforms in 2010, TAI Zimbabwe partners, along with other civil society organizations, demanded that environmental access rights be included in the constitution. A key meeting that year revolved around the constitutional reform process, environment and natural resources rights, the importance of access to information rights, and civil society strategies to engage in the process. This meeting concluded with a greater unity of civil society organizations around the inclusion of environmental rights in the constitution, prompting them to disseminate a position paper of constitutional demands and forward them to a government committee.

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) is a public interest law group and the lead national organization for TAI Uganda. It is committed to promoting the public interest in environmental decision making through legal and policy research, advocacy, impact litigation, conflict resolution and civic education.

Achievements TAI Zimbabwe has been active in assessing the state of access laws and implementation in Zimbabwe. This includes asking public authorities to release information to the public, such as asking the City of Harare to release a license document in 2007 and taking the City to the High Court of Zimbabwe in 2008 to compel it to release the information.