Governments and NGOs adopt declaration on access to environmental information

Representatives of governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from around the world have agreed to improve international co-operation over environmental information, and to develop a sustainable interactive information system.

At INFOTERRA 2000, an international conference at Dublin Castle to focus attention on the important issue of access to environmental information, governments and NGOs from six continents adopted the Dublin Declaration on Access to Environmental Information. The Declaration calls on nations to enhance networking and co-ordinating mechanisms.

“Environmental information is an essential tool to assist in bringing about the changes in lifestyle necessary to achieve a more sustainable society in the 21st Century,” said Irish Environment Minister, Noel Dempsey, opening the conference. “Finding the best means of communicating the right information is a global challenge.”

Public access to environmental information is becoming increasingly important in the new millennium, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), who co-hosted the meeting with the Irish Department of the Environment and Local Government. Access to information empowers citizens to take positive action in the areas of environmental protection and sustainable development, encapsulated by Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.

The Dublin Declaration calls on governments to support the UNEP in the development of a global environmental portal on the internet. National consortia are being encouraged to use web-based technologies and to establish protocols and standards for delivering an integrated information service in each country.

INFOTERRA is UNEP’s global environmental information exchange network operating in 177 countries worldwide, with a mandate to ease access to environmental information by reducing bureaucratic, linguistic and technological barriers.

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