About silent objects and barking watchdogs: The role and accountability of environmental NGOs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Within environmental law, Environmental NGOs (hereafter NGOs) – being private actors established by civil society – often enjoy special procedural rights in order to help to achieve the public interest of a sound environment. Particularly when governments fall short in their public task to protect the environment, it will be crucial that NGOs – acting as watchdogs – step in by defending the voiceless interest of a sound environment. This contribution examines how NGOs are indeed able to contribute to the protection of the environment, and which challenges exist when NGOs act in the pursuance of this public interest. Core focus goes to the right of access to environmental information as being currently provided in EU law, and several opportunities and limits will be discussed. In view of the potential great informational power of NGOs, this contribution will also shed a light on the question of accountability of the NGOs themselves, and the way how the right to freedom of expression protects their freedom of speech in case they want to make accusations of malpractice or illegal behaviour of governments or industries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-472
JournalEuropean Public Law
Volume24
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Public interest; NGOs; Aarhus Convention; Procedural rights; Environmental information; Freedom of expression; Strategic Lawsuits; PRTR Protocol; Compliance; Confidentiality

Cite this

@article{66ec41f6c44147b580651e5efdbd643c,
title = "About silent objects and barking watchdogs: The role and accountability of environmental NGOs",
abstract = "Within environmental law, Environmental NGOs (hereafter NGOs) – being private actors established by civil society – often enjoy special procedural rights in order to help to achieve the public interest of a sound environment. Particularly when governments fall short in their public task to protect the environment, it will be crucial that NGOs – acting as watchdogs – step in by defending the voiceless interest of a sound environment. This contribution examines how NGOs are indeed able to contribute to the protection of the environment, and which challenges exist when NGOs act in the pursuance of this public interest. Core focus goes to the right of access to environmental information as being currently provided in EU law, and several opportunities and limits will be discussed. In view of the potential great informational power of NGOs, this contribution will also shed a light on the question of accountability of the NGOs themselves, and the way how the right to freedom of expression protects their freedom of speech in case they want to make accusations of malpractice or illegal behaviour of governments or industries.",
keywords = "Public interest; NGOs; Aarhus Convention; Procedural rights; Environmental information; Freedom of expression; Strategic Lawsuits; PRTR Protocol; Compliance; Confidentiality",
author = "Marjan Peeters",
year = "2018",
language = "English",
volume = "24",
pages = "449--472",
journal = "European Public Law",
issn = "1354-3725",
publisher = "Kluwer Law International",
number = "3",

}

About silent objects and barking watchdogs: The role and accountability of environmental NGOs. / Peeters, Marjan.

In: European Public Law, Vol. 24, No. 3, 2018, p. 449-472.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - About silent objects and barking watchdogs: The role and accountability of environmental NGOs

AU - Peeters, Marjan

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Within environmental law, Environmental NGOs (hereafter NGOs) – being private actors established by civil society – often enjoy special procedural rights in order to help to achieve the public interest of a sound environment. Particularly when governments fall short in their public task to protect the environment, it will be crucial that NGOs – acting as watchdogs – step in by defending the voiceless interest of a sound environment. This contribution examines how NGOs are indeed able to contribute to the protection of the environment, and which challenges exist when NGOs act in the pursuance of this public interest. Core focus goes to the right of access to environmental information as being currently provided in EU law, and several opportunities and limits will be discussed. In view of the potential great informational power of NGOs, this contribution will also shed a light on the question of accountability of the NGOs themselves, and the way how the right to freedom of expression protects their freedom of speech in case they want to make accusations of malpractice or illegal behaviour of governments or industries.

AB - Within environmental law, Environmental NGOs (hereafter NGOs) – being private actors established by civil society – often enjoy special procedural rights in order to help to achieve the public interest of a sound environment. Particularly when governments fall short in their public task to protect the environment, it will be crucial that NGOs – acting as watchdogs – step in by defending the voiceless interest of a sound environment. This contribution examines how NGOs are indeed able to contribute to the protection of the environment, and which challenges exist when NGOs act in the pursuance of this public interest. Core focus goes to the right of access to environmental information as being currently provided in EU law, and several opportunities and limits will be discussed. In view of the potential great informational power of NGOs, this contribution will also shed a light on the question of accountability of the NGOs themselves, and the way how the right to freedom of expression protects their freedom of speech in case they want to make accusations of malpractice or illegal behaviour of governments or industries.

KW - Public interest; NGOs; Aarhus Convention; Procedural rights; Environmental information; Freedom of expression; Strategic Lawsuits; PRTR Protocol; Compliance; Confidentiality

M3 - Article

VL - 24

SP - 449

EP - 472

JO - European Public Law

JF - European Public Law

SN - 1354-3725

IS - 3

ER -