UNEP's Work On Principle 10

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.