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date: 13 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

There are increasing efforts at the international level to adopt standards designed to govern public participation in national-level decision making. In addition, a growing number of procedures govern public participation in international decision making, within the framework of international environmental agreements and international institutions. While the two types of procedure are to be distinguished, both are driven by similar motivations and pursue common goals. Moreover, the relevant norms in these two contexts interact and influence each other, giving rise to an international body of law concerning public participation in environmental matters. This article considers that body of law and how it has been applied to decision making in both international and national contexts. It first discusses the contexts in which international law on public participation in environmental matters has developed and is to be understood, both politically and conceptually. The article then explores the rationales for public participation. Subsequently, it analyses existing international norms regarding participation, related to international and national levels of decision making respectively, and addresses how they have given rise to emerging normative patterns. The article examines the increased involvement of non-state actors, legal fragments and normative patterns, non-governmental organisations as representatives of the public, public participation in decision making and access to information, and access to justice.

Keywords: public participation, decision making, international law, non-state actors, non-governmental organisations, access to information, justice

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