Public Involvement in Environmental Governance

Published on 19 May 2023

Sean Whittaker's presentation to the Centre for Law and the Environment

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Members of the public are often framed in law as only being able to seek out environmental information held by the state, but in practice this is often not the case. Individuals, in their day-to-day lives, gather vast amount of environmental information that would be helpful in determining the best way to protect the environment.

Yet members of the public can find it difficult to submit this environmental information to the state. While public authorities may decide to accept this information as a matter of public policy, equally it is possible that they will reject the information submitted to them. Perhaps more concerningly, authorities may decide to accept publicly-sourced environmental information and then refuse to engage with it further.

It is on this basis that Dr Sean Whittaker presented his paper on the right to submit environmental information to the Centre for Law and the Environment at University College Cork, Ireland. Chaired by Professor Áine Ryall, Chair of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee, Dr Whittaker’s paper focused on the value of the proposed right to submit, and whether such a right could be interpreted into the Aarhus Convention.

A recording of the presentation can be accessed on the Centre for Law and the Environment 2023 Conference webpage.


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