Public Participation in Environmental Matters – International Human Rights Developments in Europe and Africa

31 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2018

See all articles by Jonas Ebbesson

Jonas Ebbesson

Stockholm University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2018


In different ways, international law on participatory rights in environmental matters – the right to participate in decision-making, and have access to information and access to justice – is developing in Europe and Africa. In this article, I compare these legal developments.

I limit my focus of comparison to the international minimum standards for participatory rights in environmental matters, as developed in legal frameworks and jurisprudence of two key treaty regimes of each region.

I start with an overview of the developments in Europe, with which I am most familiar, and move on to considerations about the developments in Africa. Limiting the comparison to the listed treaty regimes means that national laws will not be considered. While for a huge part of Europe, European Union (EU) law – which is not international law – is significant for the promotion of participatory rights, EU law will also be excluded from the comparison. Having said that, to a great extent, applicable EU law on the matter substantially draws on the two European treaties considered here. To different degrees, these two treaty regimes apply also to areas outside the EU, i.e. to states in Europe which are not EU member states, and to states in the Caucasus region and Central Asia that were former republics in the Soviet Union. As for Africa, in addition to the two treaty regimes considered here, legal or political measures to promote public participation have been taken in other or related international regimes, e.g. by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), East Africa Community (EAC), and African Ministerial Conference of the Environment (AMCEN).

Suggested Citation

Ebbesson, Jonas, Public Participation in Environmental Matters – International Human Rights Developments in Europe and Africa (2018). Faculty of Law, Stockholm University Research Paper No. 58, Available at SSRN: or

Jonas Ebbesson (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Faculty of Law ( email )

S-106 91 Stockholm

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