The Access Initiative

Improving Participation in International Environmental Governance         

Published: 2011

UNEP Perspectives Series

This discussion paper 1) briefly explores the rationale and principles for “public participation” in IEG; 2) reviews exemplary practice and options of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) with regard to implementing these principles and suggests a number of changes to IEG that could enable more transparent, participatory, and accountable governance; and 3) suggests that Rio +20 provides an opportunity to improve the quality of civil society participation by enabling civil society organizations not merely to observe, but also to inform, shape, and engage decisionmaking processes by securing an equal footing with states in some aspects of the IEG policy-making process; performing key governance functions that governments cannot or will not perform themselves; and amplifying the voices of people and of interests that governments may not represent adequately. In order to frame these observations in the context of Rio +20’s mandate to review progress toward sustainable development, this paper concludes by summarizing proposals across the three pillars of Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration (access to information, public participation, and access to justice).

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public_participation_in_ieg-8.pdf 411.78 KB


Jacob Werksman, Joseph Foti



Associated Rights


Capacity Building Environmental Democracy Human Rights Principle 10 Public Participation