The environmental impact assessment (EIA) regime has become the standard procedure for implementing the public participation concept based on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment adopted at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, as a strategy for preventing environmental harm. Even though this paper accepts the basic premise of the concept of public participation and its acclaimed virtues, it is argued that the EIA regime is an unreliable procedure for implementing the concept in developing markets. This is because of the fundamentality of access to justice to effective participation. The weak and inefficient justice systems in developing markets is unlikely to be able to effectively support the EIA process to ensure effective and meaningful participation of the public or the potential victims of environmental harm. Since meaningful participation of the public and interest groups in the process is the major driver of the public participation concept, the paper concludes that participation at a more fundamental level of corporate decision-making will be more appropriate for developing markets to obviate the need to rely on their weak and inefficient judicial systems.
Corresponding author. Samuel E. Ojogbo: firstname.lastname@example.org
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