General Aspects on the Right to Access to Environmental Information in Brazil

José Antônio Tietzmann E Silva, Luciane Martins De Araújo


[extract] There is no doubt that environmental protection has become a subject of utmost importance in the last decades and especially in recent years, though the discussions on this matter are still recent, whether considering the national or the international scene.

Indeed, the leading moment for discussing the international juridical frame for environmental protection was the 1972 Stockholm conference, followed by three others, held at Rio, in 1992, in Johannesburg, ten years later, and again in Rio de Janeiro, in 2012.

Each and every of these moments contributed to the moulding and consolidating of the international juridical frame for environmental protection, by the means of principles and norms with direct consequences to the national States’ juridical framework - a brief overview of the introduction and the evolution of environmental norms within each country shows a clear connection with the international framework.

Anyway, considering the fundamental principles and norms of Environmental Law, there is the right to a healthy environment, defended by the prevention and precautionary principles, but also by other ones. That’s the case of the access to environmental information, the participation in decision-making processes that affect the environment as well as the access to justice. These are indeed presented as fundamental rights.

This becomes evident from the 1998 Aarhus Convention (UNECE, 1998), an international norm that has these three rights as its pillars and aims at guaranteeing the right to a healthy environment. Due to its importance as an international norm, this Convention became global since 2014 and has even emulated a negotiation process for a regional text concerning these pillars and their implementation in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

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