Citizen Participation, Access to Environmental Information and Education in Uruguayan Environmental Law
Revista de la Facultad de Derecho
Our country has followed a clear trend towards the recognition of various mechanisms of citizen participation and access to public information regarding environmental issues A few years ago, if, for instance, a person or group of people, concerned about the potential environmental impact caused by the establishment of a factory in their neighborhood, requested information from the Authorities, such request would have most likely been rejected. At present, there is a clear law-making policy
... -making policy towards acknowledging the possibility for a diversity of social players to be involved at different levels. In a State structured under a social rule of law, both community participation and civil society access to information in possession of the State, regarding issues that may affect the environment, are fundamental rights. Both concepts, information and participation, must go hand in hand, as the first operates as a condition to exercise the second. Civil society involvement in an environmental issue could never occur if, for instance, information held by the Government is not made available. In addition to protecting fundamental human rights, these concepts are enshrined in participatory democracy. They also enable civil society to be involved in environmental pollution issues. This paper is intended to provide a detailed research on the different instruments enshrining citizen participation and access to public information about environmental issues.