UNEP's Work On Principle 10

DRAFT Guide to the UNEP Bali Guidelines on Rio Principle 10 open for comments(Deadline: 25th September 2014)

UNEP is calling upon States and Governments, Stakeholders, Academics and Major Groups to comment on the DRAFT Guide to the UNEP Bali Guidelines on Rio Principle 10 (working title: "Putting Rio Principle 10 into Action"). The Rio Principle 10 (PP10) is the global standard for the promotion of environmental democracy and one of the major drivers of the transition towards sustainability. It provides a platform for the participation of all concerned citizens in environmental issues as well as an opportunity to participate in decision making processes. The Bali Guidelines represent the global unique instrument that was adopted by member states in order to implement Rio Principle 10.

The UNEP Governing Council adopted the Bali Guidelines in 2010 as a tool to assist countries in filling gaps in national and sub-national legislation in order to facilitate broad access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters. In 2012 UNEP and UNITAR joined hands to promote the Bali Guidelines, including through a project to develop a Guide to the Guidelines implemented by the World Resource Institute (WRI). Drafted with assistance from a global Advisory Group, the Guide seeks to offer assistance to governments towards the implementation of Rio Principle 10 by collecting case examples and jurisprudence from a wide range of national and international practice. The Guide is expected to be published by the end of 2014 and will be translated into official UN languages and widely distributed.

All comments are welcome. Particularly useful would be positive examples from developing and transitional societies regarding legislation and practical implementation in the field of access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.

The DRAFT Guide is downloadable as a word document and available here.

To facilitate the taking into account of comments, we request you to download the Word version of the DRAFT and to insert comments or propose changes by using the Track Changes function. Alternatively you could provide comments with clear references to the page and paragraph. Please be as specific as possible. Comments should be submitted by email to Stephenstec@gmail.com and copied to civil.society@unep.org by or before September 25, 2014. Comments received after this date shall not be considered.

“Implementation of Principle 10 in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development” (UNEP/EA.1/L.13)

At the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) held in Nairobi (Kenya) between 23 and 27 June 2014, delegates and representatives from 163 Member States of the United Nations adopted resolution UNEP/EA.1/L.13 on the “Implementation of Principle 10 in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development”.

The resolution, proposed by the Presiding Officers of the process on Principle 10 in Latin America and the Caribbean (Chile, Mexico and the Dominican Republic), was one of the 16 resolutions adopted at the first meeting of UNEA.

Along with IUCN, UNDP, the World Bank, governments, WRI, and other partners, UNEP is a founding member of the “Partnership for Principle 10” (PP10).

Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration states: 

“Environmental issues are best handled with the 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.”

In order to catalyse and accelerate action in terms of implementing Principle 10, governments adopted the "Guidelines for the Development of National Legislation on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters" at the 11th Special Session of UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum in Bali, Indonesia. These Guidelines though voluntary, demonstrate a willingness by Governments to more thoroughly engage the public at all levels to protect and manage the environment and related resources.

 Partnership for Principle 10    Enforcement of environmental laws

Under PP10, UNEP has committed to increasing its performance in providing adequate information to the interested public. This initiative—unveiled at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg—identifies the three principles articulated in Principle 10 as keys for public participation in environmental governance: public participation, access to information, and access to justice in environmental matters.
PP10 is committed to translating the principles into action by promoting transparent, inclusive, and accountable decision-making at the national level.

It provides a venue for governments, international organizations, and civil society groups to work together to implement practical solutions that provide the public with access to information, participation, and justice for environmentally sustainable decisions.

This partnership is open to new members, and CSOs can participate directly in the partnership. For further information, see www.pp10.org.


Involvement of civil society is critical for effective implementation, compliance, and enforcement of environmental law. CSOs play an instrumental role in bringing cases involving environmental issues to national courts. 

Judges often do not have all the necessary skills to handle cases pertaining to environmental issues. UNEP works with litigation groups or environmental NGOs specialised in environmental law to train judges in handling such cases, with judges to enhance their ability to handle environmental cases, and parliamentarians, by raising capacity to implement international environmental agreements within their own legal frameworks.

UNEP has developed guidelines and drafted a manual to help governments and civil society achieve effective compliance with and enforcement of environmental laws. 

UNEP has capitalised on its experience in law and made it available to practitioners. For example, the database ECOLEX —jointly run by UNEP, FAO, and IUCN—provides up-to-date and comprehensive information on environmental law.

ECLAC meeting on Principle 10

On 6-7 November 2012, delegates of the signatory countries to the Declaration on the application of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development held a meeting at the ECLAC headquarters in Santiago, Chile, where they agreed on a road map for its full implementation at the regional level..... Read more.

Third Meeting of the focal points designated by the governments of signatory countries of the Declaration on the application of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. - 31st OCTOBER 2013

The third Meeting of Designated Focal Points by the Governments of the signatory countries of the Declaration on the implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean was held in Lima, Peru, October 30 and 31, 2013. At the meeting, Guatemala and St. Vincent and the Grenadines joined  the Declaration and adopted the Lima Vision for a regional instrument on access rights in environmental matters. Delegates from 17 countries signatories also agreed priority action lines by 2014 in capacity building and cooperation. Read more