A New Framing for Sustainability

Principle 4 of of the Draft Declaration on Planetary Boundaries provides for governments to be responsible for earth system processes.


  • Establishing over-arching legal principles and duties to recognise and respect planetary boundaries
  • Ensuring people have the right to have them recognised and respected
  • Guaranteeing rights to information, participation and access to justice

At the Rio +20 Conference, the Planetary Boundaries Initiative today took its declaration to the Cupolas dos Povos, the People’s Summit at the Rio + 20 Conference in Brazil to engage the public on the Responsibility Principle

As a consequence of that engagement the Draft Principles for Public Participation on Planetary Boundaries was developed and this will be submitted to the People’s Summit which is held alongside the Rio + 20 Conference. This is part of the People’s Assembly process to produce their own set of proposals – seen as an antidote to the UNCED process.

The Draft Principles for Public Participation on Planetary Boundaries are as follows



Each Party shall take the necessary legislative, regulatory and other measures, including measures to achieve compatibility between the provisions implementing the information, public participation and access-to-justice provisions in this Declaration

Each Party shall provide for appropriate recognition of and support to associations, organizations or groups promoting environmental protection through the recognition and respect for planetary boundaries and ensure that its national legal system is consistent with this obligation.



Each Party shall provide legal and or administrative mechanisms to ensure that the public have rights to have planetary boundaries at multiple scales recognised and respected

Each Party shall provide for the further principles here established to bring about this provision



Each Party shall ensure that:

(a) Public authorities possess and update environmental information which is relevant to their functions when establishing their national and regional planetary boundaries

(b) Provide sufficient information to the public about the type and scope of environmental information held by them and relevant public to planetary boundaries and the basic terms and conditions under which such information is made available and accessible, and the process by which it can be obtained



Each Party shall provide for early public participation, when all options are open and effective public participation can take place for the setting of planetary boundaries at the national and local levels of their administrations

Each Party shall require the competent public authorities to give the public concerned access for examination, upon request where so required under national law, free of charge and as soon as it becomes available, to all information relevant to the decision-making relevant to the establishment of planetary boundaries

Procedures for public participation shall allow the public to participate in the long term planning of its boundary area, taking into account inter-generational concerns, for determination by way a public hearing or inquiry , including any comments, information, analyses or opinions that it considers relevant to the proposed plan



Each Party shall, within the framework of its national legislation, ensure that members of the public concerned:

(a) Having a sufficient interest or, alternatively,

(b) Maintaining impairment of a right, where the administrative procedural law of a Party requires this as a precondition,have access to a review procedure before a court of law and/or another independent and impartial body established by law, to challenge the substantive and procedural aspects of any decision affecting an individual’s right to request, participate and take part in the establishment of national and local planetary boundaries.


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