Eye on Access for All
There is significant support in the Eye on Earth community for the development of adequate institutional and legislative enabling conditions for furthering the implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, in particular the recognition that environmental issues are best handled with access to information, citizen engagement and access to remedies and relief.
Eye on Access for All (A4A) is one of the 3 foundational Special Initiatives. This Special Initiative perfectly complements all other EoE Special Initiatives by addressing an overarching and key aspect of information access and citizen engagement rights that are relevant for all the other suggested initiatives. In particular, it’s support of the Eye on Global Network of Networks Initiative, as it focuses on the creation of an enabling environment to facilitate the maximum usage of the available data and information. It is this furthering of Principle 10 implementation that is fundamental to the success of Eye on Earth, and as such is specifically referenced in the Eye on Earth Summit Declaration.
Eye on Access for All aims to facilitate collaboration between UNEP, key civil society networks such as the Access Initiative and Regional Environmental Centres (Europe, Caucasus, Central and Eastern Asia, Russia), Aarhus Centres, the European Eco Forum, national governments and related agencies and other UN entities (e.g. UNECE, UNITAR) and support the global implementation of Principle 10.
This is to be achieved through building upon the current and past work of these stakeholders (including the human rights dimensions of Principle 10) and in particular:
- Increasing awareness among national governments and civil society about Principle 10 and the benefits of implementation including sharing good practices and experience from the UNECE region and other countries;
- Developing training, capacity and skill building programs (including web-based programs) for government officials and civil society members on Principle 10 implementation drawing on experiences from successful countries and models (e.g. the Aarhus Convention);
- Developing and deploying assessment tools to facilitate the identification of Principle 10 related legal and implementation gaps and subsequent improvement programme recommendations;
- Providing concrete assistance to governments for the development of national legislation in accordance with the Bali Guidelines on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters; and
- Developing web-based mechanisms for monitoring and tracking improvements in Principle 10 implementation worldwide.
Principle 10 – Rio Declaration (1992)
“Environmental issues are best handled with participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level. At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes. States shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings, including redress and remedy, shall be provided.”
A4A bring together stakeholders who recognize each other’s work, yet have had no chance to actively collaborate and participate in shaping and accomplishing a common shared vision of an accessible world of environmental data that can help support better decisions and stronger involvement of all those affected. Rather than organizing yet one more project, this initiative establish an action platform of equals, where organizations with interest in Principle 10 implementation can draw strength from each other while sharing common experiences and even linked projects under the right conditions.
The stakeholders of the initiative include the main institutions AGEDI, UNEP, World Bank, Economic and Social Research Institue (Esri), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), European Evironmental Bureau (EEB), European Environment Agency (EEA), US Department of State, US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), UNITAR, European Umbrella Organisation for Geographic Information (EUROGI), Central European University (CEU), Regional Environmental Center (REC), World Resources Institute (WRI), The Access Initiative (TAI), Environmental Management and Law Association (EMLA) and Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE).
These institutions and individuals are all engaged on a regular basis through stakeholder calls as well as face to face meetings to discuss and move forward on common shared projects and issues within the initiative.
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