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As a comparativist, searching for a framework for “comparative environmental politics” (as opposed to policy), I began studying the three “Principle 10 (P10)” environmental access rights (also known as the pillars of environmental democracy)i, first promulgated in the 1992 Rio Declaration. Since the late 1990s, these P10 rights, “access to environmental information,” “access to participation,” and, “access to justice in environmental matters,” are globally seen as promoting transparent, inclusive, and accountable governance. Their greatest adoption success to date is the European Union’s (EU) 1998 Aarhus Convention, which the EU saw as a way to deepen democracy and sustainability, especially in new Central and Eastern member states. Now, the push for environmental access rights worldwide is being promoted by several UN-related agencies, including the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The have been working since 2012 on promoting a regionwide Convention for Latin America and the Caribbean, along with The Access Initiative (TAI), a transnational network of civil society groups. I argue these access rights can be seen seem to be an institutional basis for promoting environmental democracy and justice as well as providing a framework for a subfield of comparative environmental politics.


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