The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Chapter 8: The Right of Access to Information as a Tool for Environmental Protection and Poverty Eradication in Mexico
Carla D. Aceves-Ávila 8.1 INTRODUCTION Principle 10 of the Río Declaration states that: 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.1 The three concepts found within Principle 10, namely access to environmental information, access to decision-making processes and access to environmental justice through redress and remedy, form the basis of environmental democracy. They also constitute powerful tools for poverty eradication. Environmental resources and the services they provide are especially important for people living in poverty since a good part of this population draws much of their livelihoods from forests, pastures, fisheries or farming. Thus, their economy as well as their quality of life is strongly linked to environmental goods and services. Also, they tend to reside in areas with stressed or low quality environmental resources such as sloped areas with greater risk of landslides, dry rivers or rivers which when flooded represent a greater hazard, and polluted areas where sectors of the population with more decisionmaking power as well as higher incomes would never choose to live. Therefore, the improvement of low quality environmental...
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