Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice

Truly sustainable development demands that the public participate in environmental decision-making. This need was recognised when world governments met at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and was later strengthened by the Aarhus Convention in 1998.

The Aarhus convention states that:

  • every person has the right to live in an environment adequate to his or her health and well-being, and;

  • every person has the duty, both individually and in association with others, to protect and improve the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.

It requires governments to allow citizens access to information on the environment, and opportunities to participate in decision-making and policy development that could affect their environment. It also allows citizens to seek remedy in the courts if the environment is not properly integrated into the final decision.

Ireland ratified the Aarhus Convention on 20th June 2012.

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