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Carrie McKee

on 30 November 2012

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Transcript of STRIPE

The Access Initiative, World Resources Institute, Thailand Environment Institute,
Indonesian Center for Environmental Law Strengthening the Right to Information for
People and the Environment (STRIPE) This is the Map Ta Phut industrial estate. Mrs. Umaree has been told by local authorities not to use the well, as it has been contaminated with arsenic. She has also been told that there may be arsenic in her blood. Map Ta Phut is the largest petrochemical hub in Thailand, and the eighth largest in the world. polluted streams, open flaring, At over 200 facilities, Map Ta Phut shares a community with This is
Mrs. Lek Umaree,
she lives
Map Ta Phut
estate. This is her well. The Access Initiative is working in Thailand. and people. there is coal fired power plant near a community called Tubanen. The Access Initiative is working in Indonesia. We believe everyone has the legal right to information from public agencies on the air they breathe and the water they drink and use. While both Thailand and Indonesia have passed national freedom of information laws, communities still face extreme difficulty in accessing reliable, understandable environmental data. Utilizing these FOI laws, experts from WRI, TEI, and ICEL advocate for change alongside local communities. What have we learned so far?

Despite its importance, government agencies still do not provide usable information to local communities
Without basic information, communities find it extremely difficult to hold companies and governments accountable
Governments are not monitoring and collecting enough information for communities to demand accountability
FOI laws and enforcement mechanisms need to be strengthened in both Thailand and Indonesia
Governments need to think through transparency to ensure water and air quality standards The World Resources Institute (WRI), Thailand Environment Institute (TEI), and Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) have come together through The Access Initiative network to demand accessible environmental data, so that people may be empowered to influence decisions about the natural resources that sustain their communities. In collaboration with the US Environmental Protection Agency, and local NGOs such as the Patuxent Riverkeeper, Delegates included civil society members,
community activists, and government officials involved in
environmental information release and advocacy in Thailand and Indonesia The Study Tour generated a number of conclusions:
Countries need strong laws that promote the proactive release of information
Governments must strengthen their capacity to provide information
Governments must learn how to use transparency as a strategy to encourage compliance with laws on air and water pollution
Information must be “ready to know”
Civil society/NGOs have an essential role to play to demand proactive release of information in forms they can understand
Fundamentally, culture change is needed for governments to provide basic access to information on the air we breathe and the water we use. delegates shared knowledge and held critical discussions on the present and future of environmental data. This is Bakri. He is a community leader from Tubanen. Bakri is concerned for a little girl in his community who is suffering from pollution-induced respiratory problems. Her family has been advised by the doctor to move away. This is known as the Strengthening the Right to Information for People and the Environment project, or STRIPE. WRI worked to build the capacity of government agencies and civil society through the 2012 US Study Tour. The study tour was highly successfully in consolidating best practices and potential approaches in international and cross-sector collaboration. In Central Java Very little information is proactively released by governments. Of the little information that is released proactively, much of it is distrusted by local communities. For more information, contact The Access Initiative at access@wri.org or go to www.accessinitiative.org Thailand FOI results: Indonesia FOI results - Air Indonesia FOI results - Water ICEL received complete, comprehensible responses from 40% of their FOI requests. TEI received complete, comprehensible responses from 47% of their FOI requests. The most powerful tools at citizens' disposal are the freedom of information (FOI) laws that have been passed in each country. Thailand's FOI law came into effect in 1997, while Indonesia's has been active since 2010. Partners use a four-step process to request information and determine its accessibility:

1) Identify needed information and its availability
2) Identify if there is a legal mandate for collection and release of needed information
3) If information is not available, file FOI Request
4) Monitor and track FOI Request, file appeal if necessary the World Bank, Flickr/World Bank Photo Collection
Full transcript