International environmental law has exerted, and continues to exert, a significant influence over the development of domestic environmental laws in Australia. Instruments such as the Rio Declaration and the Aarhus Convention are widely accepted by stakeholders as providing international standards of best practice for environmental governance. During the past, however, it has often been difficult for commentators to assess the effectiveness of domestic efforts at implementing these international standards of best practice with any degree of precision. With this in mind, The Access Initiative and the World Resources Institute have recently attempted to address this problem by creating a tool that tests the extent to which domestic environmental laws at the national level have been harmonised with international standards of best practice for access to information, public participation and access to justice in areas related to the environment as reflected in the UNEP Bali Guidelines.The tool also offers a snapshot of a nation’s performance in key practice areas of environmental governance. This tool is known as the Environmental Democracy Index. In May 2015, the inaugural Environmental Democracy Index project will be launched. In this article, the authors, both of whom were involved in the research and preparation of Australia’s country profile for the Environmental Democracy Index project, report on Australia’s performance. The authors also outline a series of recommendations for improving Australia’s index score in the future.
|Number of pages
|Environmental and Planning Law Journal
|Published - May 2015