The Access Initiative (TAI)
TAI is the world’s largest network of civil society organizations dedicated to ensuring that local communities have the rights and abilities to gain access to information and to participate in decisions that affect their lives and their environment. Its objectives are founded on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration which mandated governments to provide appropriate access to information, encouragement of public participation, and effective access to judicial proceedings. Members from around the world carry out evidence-based advocacy to encourage collaboration and innovation that advances transparency, accountability, and inclusiveness in decision-making at all levels. TAI is led by seven civil society organizations which form the core team, with each core team acting as a regional lead. ILEG is the core-team member and regional lead for Anglophone Africa. Globally, TAI work is coordinated by a secretariat based at the World Resources Institute (WRI) in the US. Since TAI began in 1999, more than 150 civil society organizations around the world have become TAI Partners. Assessments and advocacy have engaged governments in more than 45 countries to improve access to information, publicparticipation and access to justice in decisions affecting the environment.
As a member of the core-team, ILEG contributes to TAI policy making; provides support to TAI activities at the regional and national levels; and provides support to the functioning of the global TAI network. ILEG continues to participate in TAI led activities and sends representatives to regional TAI meetings where participants come from various countries including Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda among others. At these meetings, participants inter alia, share experiences and lessons learnt in using the TAI methodology as a tool for measuring progress in the implementation of access rights, and the activities undertaken to address issues and gaps highlighted.
Some of the issues ILEG has reported on include the campaign for a freedom of information law, training of lawyers and judicial officers in environmental law and policy, creation of awareness among citizens through TV drama, publication and distribution of literature on public interest environmental litigation amongst a host of other activities.
ILEG participates at The Access Initiative (TAI) Fifth Global Gathering in Bogotá, Colombia
The Fifth Global Gathering of TAI was hosted by TAI member organization Ambiente y Sociedad in Bogotá, Colombia, from October 29-31, 2014. TAI’s Global Gatherings occur on a bi-yearly basis and provide space for new innovations, capacity-building and awareness around key themes in environmental governance. Through convening people and organizations dedicated to promoting transparency, rights, and accountability, Global Gatherings provide the opportunity to build platforms for change. The theme of the 2014 Global Gathering was “Using Information, Data and Technology to Protect Forests and Strengthen the Rights of Forest-Dependent Communities”. It brought together network partners, CSOs, and community and indigenous leaders to address how to use information, data and technology to improve forest governance and strengthen community rights. Partners also used the meeting to discuss their priority issues and share new initiatives. ILEG was represented at the Global gathering by one of its programme Officers, Duncan Okowa who represented Mr Benson Ochieng, the TAI Core Team lead for Anglophone Africa.
The Global Gathering was incredibly successful – bringing together over 90 participants from around 40 countries. The Gathering re-confirmed the vitality and strength of the TAI network, and helped network members to identify priorities for the coming year(s). You can click here to download the 2014 Global Gathering Outcome Report.
First ever Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) launched in Kenya.
ILEG in partnership with The Access Initiative (TAI) hosted the Kenya launch of the Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) at UNEP headquarters in Gigiri-Nairobi on 27th May 2015. EDI is the first-ever interactive public platform that tracks countries’ progress in establishing national laws to promote transparency, accountability, and public participation in environmental decision making- principles that make up the foundation of environmental democracy. The launch presented the methodology and indicators behind the index, key global trends as well as the results for Kenya. Click here to read and download an Activity Brief for the Event.