Environmental Law Review

Pursuing substantive environmental justice: The Aarhus Convention as a ‘pillar’ of empowerment

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Courtesy of Environmental Law Review

Adopting a grassroots perspective of environmental justice, this analysis illustrates the untapped potential of the second pillar of the Aarhus Convention to serve as a tool of empowerment, both in terms of fair treatment and meaningful involvement, for those suffering environmental injustice. The author argues that by upholding the general principle of non-discrimination, and by providing opportunities for public participation in decision-making and influencing the substance of the decision, the Convention can ensure fair treatment and meaningful involvement. Overall however, owing to inherent weaknesses and an absence of an environmental justice rationale, the Convention is a weak pillar of empowerment.  Pursuit of substantive environmental justice thus demands explicitly contextualising the Convention in the broader framework of grassroots environmental justice.

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