Systemic deficiencies with regard to access to information, decision-making or compliance with environmental law can seriously threaten successful implementation of circular and green economy and sustainable development. Taking a case to court to advance a widely shared public interest remains an essential safeguard for the environment, human health and well-being and sustainable development. The case law in a number of countries demonstrates that environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use a strategic approach to litigation to achieve justice in relation to critical environmental issues such as air quality, biodiversity loss, water quality and climate change. There are clear benefits for countries from promoting enabling conditions for such public interest litigation. Such benefits include protection of environmental rights and accountability in decision-making, improving the quality of environmental assessments and supporting the rule of law.
The Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) plays a critical role in this regard by assisting Governments and by empowering the public to promote environmental justice.