Rio Principle 10 National Profile and Action Plan Projects

Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, adopted by Heads of State and Governments at the 1992 Rio Summit, promotes access to information, public participation, and access to justice in environmental matters. Principle 10 is gaining increasing importance as a growing number of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and other international initiatives promote stakeholder participation in environmental decision-making.

Following requests from a number of developing countries, UNITAR has implemented a global programme which provides methodological and technical support to countries to strengthen implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration through a country-driven process. Each country project prepares a National Profile and Action Plan, following a standard project methodology. All substantive decisions are made at the country level through collaboration of government with non-governmental stakeholders. The Principle 10 initiative is based on positive lessons learned from UNITAR/UNECE supported pilot projects to assist countries in preparing a National Profile on the Implementation of the Aarhus Convention.

Pilot projects were implemented in six countries in Central America (Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama) and in three countries in Africa (Bostwana, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mali).

Key achievements include:

  • High-level participation in National Planning and Priority Setting Workshops including representatives from government ministries, public interest organizations, the private sector, academia and international organizations
     
  • Enhanced collaboration between governmental and non-governmental stakeholders at the national and local levels
  • Consensus reached on national priorities for Principle 10 implementation in seven African and Central American countries
     
  • Action Plan development triggered local level capacity building activities, e.g. workshops on environmental quality management for municipalities in Costa Rica
     
  • Development of a methodology and guidance document to assist countries in assessing and strengthening national capacities for participatory environmental governance (available in English, French and Spanish).

To summarize lessons learned on Principle 10 implementation at the national level and identify capacity-building needs, UNITAR is preparing a report on the results of the pilot initiative in 2011.