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Environmental Democracy Index 2015 released; India at 24th position

May 22, 2015 17:08 IST

Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Access Initiative on 20 May 2015 released the first Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) for the year 2015. The index evaluates the environmental democracy in 70 countries based on recognised international standards.

The index evaluates whether Governments are enacting national laws to promote transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement in environmental decision making. It is assessed and analysed by more than 140 international lawyers and experts.

India was ranked at 24th position out of 70 countries in the first Environmental Democracy Index that is topped by Lithuania at the first position, Latvia at the second and Russia at the third position.

Highlights of the Environmental Democracy Index

• 79 percent of countries assessed earned only fair or poor ratings for public participation adding that many nations lag on providing citizens basic environmental information.
• Nearly half (46 percent) of the countries do not provide any ambient air quality data online for their capital cities.
• In 73 percent of the countries, courts hear environmental cases. But very few countries have assistance for marginalized groups.
• Around 64 percent of countries with laws on the books do not release any information to the public on emissions or wastewater discharges, pollutants that can impact human health and the environment.
• Only 14 percent of the countries have legal mechanisms that help women access courts to obtain redress when their environmental rights are violated.
• The index found that wealth is an important facilitator for environmental democracy, as is being a signatory of a major treaty like the Kyoto Protocol or the Aarhus convention.
• Right to environmental information has been established in the 93 percent of the assessed countries.

The Top 10 Countries with Strong National Laws for Environmental Democracy

Rank

Countries

Score

1

Lithuania

2.42

2

Latvia

2.31

3

Russia

2.25

4

United States

2.16

5

South Africa

2.16

6

United Kingdom

2.14

7

Hungary

2.12

8

Bulgaria

2.10

9

Panama

2.02

10

Colombia

1.99

10 Lowest-Scoring Countries for Environmental Democracy Laws

Rank

Countries

Score

61

Belize

0.82

62

Cambodia

0.76

63

Jordan

0.76

64

Saint Lucia

0.73

65

Nepal

0.68

66

Sri Lanka

0.67

67

Congo

0.66

68

Namibia

0.59

69

Malaysia

0.58

70

Haiti

0.51

About Environmental Democracy Index
The Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) is the first comprehensive index designed specifically to measure procedural rights in an environmental context.

The United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Bali Guidelines for the Development of National Legislation on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters provide EDI with an international standard against which national laws can be assessed.

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