Civil Society Groups Call on Governments to Strengthen Access to Information, Participation and Justice at Rio+20
May 1, 2012

Organizations from 44 countries deliver petition for governments to guarantee transparency, citizen engagement, and accountability on environmental issues

As government delegates at the United Nations this week negotiate the Zero Document for Heads of State and Ministers to sign during the Rio+ 20 Summit in June, civil society organizations are calling for an increase in information, participation and justice. The Access Initiative (TAI) is delivering a petition to address the gap between aspiration and reality in implementation of environmental matters at the Rio+ 20 conference. TAI has gathered support from more than 120 civil society organizations in 44 countries to submit the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Declaration for the Zero Document of the Rio + 20 Summit for consideration by the UN.

Twenty years after the first Rio “Earth Summit,” Rio+20 will assess progress on environmental and development issues and set the agenda for the next two decades. The main objective of the conference is to renew political commitments for sustainable development, address new challenges in implementing sustainable development, and assess progress made and remaining gaps.

Rio +20 provides a unique opportunity to address the rights of citizens to have access to information regarding the environment, to address the means for participation, and to get involved in the decision-making process.

“This is a critical time to affirm people’s rights and access to information which are essential for democracy and sustainable development,” said Lalanath De Silva, Director of TAI. “We urge governments to guarantee citizens’ rights on environmental issues while they are negotiating text for Rio+ 20 this week at the UN.”

One area where considerable progress has been made over the past 20 years is citizens’ access to information in more than 100 countries. While some UN delegates in New York are proposing to remove references to such rights, others have sought to strengthen language on transparency, citizen engagement and accountability in the draft text.

Jose Luis Balmaceda, Head of the Chilean Delegation, emphasized, “It is key to support concrete means to advance access rights implementation tools, such as regional conventions, that support government’s efforts on improving citizen involvement through access to information and accountability mechanisms.”

The purpose of today’s petition is to encourage governments to be aware that citizens’ groups from around the world are strongly requesting that their rights are guaranteed.

TAI, coordinated globally by the World Resources Institute, is the world’s largest global network of civil society organizations that promotes access to information, participation, and justice in environmental decision-making. TAI’s members are dedicated to ensuring that local communities have the rights and abilities to gain access to information and to participate in decisions that affect their lives and the environment.

Please see attached for full petition

Contact: Lauren Zelin, Senior Media Officer, WRI, 202-729-7736,

Petition April 30th 2012.doc3.13 MB

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