The Access Initiative – National Coalition for Ireland

To An Taoiseach, The Minister for the Environment and the Government of Ireland
The Access Initiative – National Coalition for Ireland
Further to our letter of 28 February 2012, we, the Environmental Pillar, plus the undersigned environmental organisations, are writing to you as The Access Initiative’s (TAI) national coalition for Ireland.  TAI is the world’s largest network of civil society organisations and activists working to ensure that people have the right and ability to influence decisions and policy about the environment and sustainable development.  TAI currently comprises some 200 civil society groups in 50 countries.
As you know, the UN is preparing for the next Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012, and countries are currently negotiating the zero draft outcome document in New York:  The following two crucial clauses of the zero draft are presently under threat:
58. We agree to take steps to give further effect to Rio Principle 10 [access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters] at the global, regional and national level, as appropriate.
128. We welcome the voluntary commitments made at Rio+20 and invite the Secretary General to compile them in a registry/compendium that will serve as an accountability framework.
The G77 countries are seeking to have these clauses deleted.  We would ask you as a matter of urgency to take steps to support the inclusion of these paragraphs in the zero draft.  For this input to be meaningful, the Government needs to act before Tuesday of next week (27 March).  We would ask you to convey to Ireland’s negotiators your support for clauses 58 and 128 of the zero draft, and for the following suggested revised text for clause 58, which will further strengthen and support the implementation of Principle 10 globally:
Revised draft clause 58 of the zero draft:
We agree to take steps at various levels to give further effect to Rio Principle 10 at the global, regional and national level, as appropriate, and in particular to:
(a)   provide support to UNEP through a robust programme to  implement the 2010 UNEP Bali guidelines on Principle 10;
(b)   encourage governments to make commitments (as part of the compendium of commitments referred to in clause 128) to improve national laws, institutions and practices in conformity with Principle 10 and develop a partnership for capacity building of institutions in those countries;
(c)    encourage governments to consider the development of regional treaties to promote Principle 10  as appropriate; and
(d)   mandate UNEP to begin the process of  conducting open, transparent and inclusive negotiations, for  a global treaty on Principle 10.
In supporting the inclusion of clauses 58 and 128 of the zero draft, and the revised text above, Ireland will be helping to support the spread of environmental democracy globally.  We urge you to throw your weight behind this goal.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Michael Ewing
Environmental Pillar