Rivista Trimestrale di Diritto Pubblico pages:1-40
The 1998 Aarhus Convention establishes three pillars of good environmental governance, namely access to information, public participation, and access to justice. In doing so it provides a multilaterally endorsed set of fairly comprehensive administrative law principles for domestic administration. This paper first discusses the background to this Convention, the importance of NGOs in its development and implementation, as well as its foundations in US administrative law. The paper subsequently argues that the Aarhus Convention could have significance beyond its application to its member States, and assesses whether it could serve as an instrument to enhance the accountability of international administrative bodies. “Globalizing” the Aarhus Convention is supported by the text of the Convention itself, by both deontological and consequentialist arguments, by the current rules and practices of States and international organizations, and by guidelines concerning the application of the Aarhus Convention to international forums. However, several drawbacks to this process exist, both because it would engender additional cost and due to the fact that the principles contained in the Convention are not as comprehensive as they could be. Nevertheless the paper concludes that the Aarhus Convention does provide useful tools for improving governance in international bodies and foundations for the development of a global legal framework.