Assessing Access To Information, Participation, and Justice in Environmental Decision Making in Ireland

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Resource or Project Abstract

Public participation in environmental decision making is essential if the necessary hard decisions that are needed if humanity is to have a sustainable future are to be supported by the wider community. This research looked at the three factors that make participation possible: 1. Access to information; 2. Ability to participate in decision making that affects the environment; and 3. Access to justice. These three "pillars" were originally established by Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration of 1992 and then incorporated as human rights into the Aarhus Convention of 1998, to which Ireland is a signatory. It is Ireland?s implementation of the Aarhus Convention that was examined in detail in this research. The research looked at individual situations (case studies) under each of the pillars. Each case study was examined using a series of indicators (research questions) to measure the quality of the relevant legislation, the effort made to implement it, and the effectiveness of the effort. The findings under each indicator were then rated by the researcher using a five-point hierarchy ranging from very bad to very good. These rankings were illustrated using colours from red (very bad) to dark green (very good). This methodology was developed by an international coalition of non-government organisations (NGOs), known as The Access Initiative (TAI). The report structure is based initially on the Aarhus Convention. Consequently, there are four main sections: 1. General provisions; 2. Access to information; 3. Public participation; and 4. Access to justice. The Access Initiative research tool provided the underlying methodology, but ancillary methods, such as surveys, interviews, stakeholder workshops and an online review forum, were used to enable public participation in the research and to get a broader understanding of Aarhus implementation. Some 36 case studies were assessed using TAI methodology, 17 for access to information, 10 for public participation, and 9 for access to justice. The research tool also provides indicators to review the general legal background, and the need for capacity building. The case study findings were accumulated and then presented as bar charts in order to show the trends under each of the three pillars. The results were then analysed to show the level of implementation of each of the Articles of the Convention. The results of this analysis are displayed in tabular format. Recommendations for change to fill gaps in provision are given under each of the three pillars of Aarhus, as well as under its general provisions.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Michael Ewing
Environmental Pillar

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Offline Print Quality Version    STRIVE_86_Ewing_Justice_prn.pdf  (1.47 Mb)
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    STRIVE_86_Ewing_Justice_web.pdf  (0.74 Mb)

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Author(s)Ewing, M.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationAssessing Access To Information, Participation, and Justice in Environmental Decision Making in Ireland
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifier0df854d0-2bc0-11e1-ad3d-005056ae0019
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-06-21

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Ewing, M.   "Assessing Access To Information, Participation, and Justice in Environmental Decision Making in Ireland". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-06-21)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource KeywordsJustice Environmental Decision Making
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2005-SD-MS-47
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeSocio-Economics
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceAny attached datasets, data files, or information objects can be downloaded for further use in scientific applications under the condition that the source is properly quoted and cited in published papers, journals, websites, presentations, books, etc. Before downloading, users must agree to the "Conditions of Download and Access" from SAFER-Data. These appear before download. Users of the data should also communicate with the original authors/owners of this resource if they are uncertain about any aspect of the data or information provided before further usage
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 2
Project Start Date Saturday 1st January 2005 (01-01-2005)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Saturday 1st January 2005 (01-01-2005)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 1st December 2010 (01-12-2010)
Published on SAFERWednesday 21st December 2011 (21-12-2011)
Date of Last EditWednesday 21st December 2011 at 10:43:27 (21-12-2011)
Datasets or Files Updated On Wednesday 21st December 2011 at 10:43:27 (21-12-2011)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
This was a desk-based study and applies to the island of Ireland.

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
Public participation in environmental decision making is an essential part of sustainable development, and this report, based on research conducted, attempts to give a clear picture of the extent to which Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, 1992, as transposed into the Aarhus Convention, 1998, has been incorporated into environmental governance in Ireland, with a view to enabling informed debate and effective targeted capacity-building measures to be initiated, in order to enable fulfilment of the National Development Plan and international commitments. The objectives of the project, as reflected in this report, were: ** To assess and stimulate progress in implementing the three pillars of Principle 10, as incorporated into the Aarhus Convention1, by looking at the status of: -The legal framework for access; -The dissemination of information; - The practice of participation; - The accessibility of justice; and - The efforts to build the capacity of the public to gain access to information, decision making and justice. ** To provide the Government with the information it needs in order to fulfil its international obligations under the Aarhus Convention, its resultant European Directives and other relevant international commitments. ** To highlight the strengths and weaknesses in environmental governance in Ireland, in order to recommend capacity-building measures that lead to participatory sustainable development. This report brings together the findings of the in-depth study of the application of the ?access principles? in Ireland, provides a detailed analysis of them and summarises the outcomes. A list of recommendations is made under each "pillar" to respond to the gaps that are identified in environmental governance.
Supplementary Information
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