Aug 29, 2012
The end of a new hope
Hungary no longer has an environmental ombudsman

Brief headline in today’s news: Hungary’s environmental ombudsman quits. Sandor Fulop was one of the founders of EMLA ( and of The Access Initiative. In 2008, he became Hungary’s first ever environmental ombudsman. The institution was a great success in the last 4 years and gave a new hope that interests of present and future generations can be harmonized with the help of an independent representative of the environment.

Aug 28, 2012
Choosing Our Future: Recap and Report
TAI Director Lalanath deSilva speaks at the June 19th event 'Choosing Our Future'

If you weren’t able to make it to The Access Initiative’s June 19th event in Rio de Janeiro with Fundação Getulio Vargas Rio Program on Law and Environment, the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), you can now catch up on all the results. The Access Initiative (TAI), together with its partners, has released the ‘Choosing Our Future’ event report with a full summary of the day and its many components.

Aug 23, 2012
Open Government Partnership: African Nations Commit to New Levels of Transparency
South Africa is one of three African nations that have already delivered written transparency commitments to the Open Government Partnership. Photo credit: Flickr/Crystian Cruz

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) boasts some pretty lofty and much-needed goals. The global initiative aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

Aug 20, 2012
Selous Game Reserve altered for uranium mining project
UNESCO World Heritage site - Selous Game Reserve - Flickr/BBM Explorer

In one the strangest stories hidden behind US elections and Russian dissent in the international media, the Tanzanian government has allowed an international uranium conglomerate to begin exploration in what used to be part of the 54,600 sq km Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania. This piece of East African habitat is not only home to the world’s largest elephant population, but is, in fact, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Aug 16, 2012
Brazilian court suspends Belo Monte Dam construction
Activists occupy Belo Monte dam construction site. Source: Flickr/International Rivers

Since the project was approved in 2005 by the Brazilian Congress, indigenous and conservation activists have unflinchingly opposed the Belo Monte dam project. Resistance has unfolded on a global stage with the engagement and watchful eye of the international community, and Belo Monte has come to represent the growing friction between industrial and indigenous forces at play in Brazil and around the world.

Aug 7, 2012
Environmental activist Volodymyr Honcharenko murdered in Ukraine
Sunrise in Kryvyi Rih, current home of Ukraine's "chemical time bomb". Source: Flickr/vtornick

Well-known Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Honcharenko died on Friday, August 3rd from injuries sustained during a brutal attack two days prior. Honcharenko was en route to his dacha when he was blocked on the road by a group of men, pulled from his car, and viciously beaten. The attack came four days after a press conference in which Honcharenko made public information on 180 tons of toxic metal waste being held in the Kryvyi Rih district. Honcharenko called the waste a “chemical time bomb” and warned that the toxic material could end up in exported scrap metal.

Jul 26, 2012
TAI partner Rizwana Hasan honored with Magsaysay Award
Ship-breakers in Bangladesh. Source: flickr/AdamCohn

Activist and lawyer Syeda Rizwana Hasan of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) has been named as one of six recipients of the 2012 Ramon Magsaysay Award. The award, generally considered the Nobel Prize of Asia, is the region’s highest honor.

Jul 16, 2012
Partner Spotlight with Andrea Sanhueza of Participa
Student protest in Santiago, Chile, 2008.

Q: What is Corporación Participa?

Participa is a Chilean NGO focused on democracy and human rights. It was founded 25 years ago as democracy was recovered in Chile. Participa works on issues around human rights, public participation, and access to information advocacy in Chile, and has been involved with The Access Initiative (TAI) since its inception.

Q: What is Participa’s involvement in initiating a regional convention on Principle 10?

Jul 11, 2012
Access to Information and Open Government Data
photo credit: Flickr/babasteve

Open Data portals, as a means of providing citizens access to government data, are becoming increasingly popular platforms being adopted by governments internationally. On June 19, 2012, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Access Initiative (TAI) hosted the “Choosing our Future: Open and Participatory Sustainable Development Governance” event in Rio de Janeiro, alongside the Rio+20 negotiations.

Jul 10, 2012
Rio+20 in the Rear View: Countries Commit to Improve Environmental Governance
One particular high point of the Rio+20 was countries' commitments to improve governance. Photo credit: Flickr/D-Lab

More than a year ago, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon likened Rio+20 to a “free-market revolution for global sustainability,” calling for the event to inspire innovations that move the world toward more sustainable pathways to economic growth and development. Later in the year, U.N. Commission for Sustainable Development Chair, Sha Zukang, explained that the main difference of Rio+20 from earlier conferences “will be the sharp focus on renewing political commitments and on implementation…” Said Sha, “My message is: come to Rio ready to commit.”

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