The Access Initiative and the World Resources Institute launched the first ever Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) on May 20, 2015.
The index tagged Environmental Democracy Index is the first of its kind and will offer new insights into the state of environmental democracy around the world and opportunities to use the tool to support reform. The index is the first comprehensive index designed specifically to monitor the state of environmental democracy around the world and measure procedural rights in an environmental context.
The launch event will featured an exploration of key trends that emerged from the results across the 70 countries EDI assessed and how governments and civil society can utilize these results in their efforts to strengthen environmental democracy around the world.
The Environmental Democracy Index is the first to measure the extent to which countries’ national laws protect environmental democracy rights, such as:
- the right of the public to freely access relevant and timely information,
- to provide public input and scrutiny in decision-making,
- and to seek justice before an independent and fair legal authority in cases of environmental harm or violation of rights.
The analysis EDI provides for each participating country helps to identify legal gaps in the three areas of environmental democracy. Comparison is easy when all the data is stored in one place on a user-friendly online platform. The EDI was designed for the use of a wide range of stakeholders which include: Civil Society Organizations, Government, International Finance Institutions, and Academics.
The United Nations Environment Programme’s UNEP P10 Bali Guidelines provide the EDI with an international standard against which national laws can be assessed. The EDI is an essential tool to help strengthen procedural rights given that the recent surge in laws on access has not been accompanied by a corresponding analysis of their quality, scope or implementation.
The EDI was designed with the aim of addressing global environmental problems as air and water pollution, extractive industry impacts and biodiversity loss by establishing a centralized hub of legal analysis and implementation data on procedural rights. The results will help establish both best practices and areas for improvement.
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