Public Participation in International Lawmaking

Having just presented a paper a the Yale Law School on public participation in international lawmaking, I though it might be good to put some ideas in to practice.  In the paper I highlight the general lack an established right to participate in international environmental normative processes.  It is a glarely lack too, when compared to the entrenched participatory rights (internationally and nationally) within muncipal legal systems.

While so-called stakeholder groups (those with Consultative Status) are usually provided good to reasonable access in the norm development process in international institutions — at least right up until end when state representatives exclude all others — I argue that we have not really thought enough about other modalities to further open up participation, including to groups and even individuals that do not meet (or want to comply with) requirements for consultative status. I propose that one way to open up the public space in international lawmaking is to use the standard administrative law tool of notice and comment. Under this proposal international institutions would be required to publicize at early junctures when normative development is being contemplated and invite public comment from the global citizenry.

So, without the requirement I propose existing, I want to publicize one current lawmaking activity that may be worth adding your two cents to.  The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is engaged in the very worthwhile process of developing a “Legally-Binding Instrument on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate, Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing“.  The normative process started in 2001 with the development of an FAO International Plan of Action on IUU, and has contiuned through workshops and the development of the 2005 Model Scheme on Port State Measures (with continuing workshops on capacity building).

If you would like to comment on the proposed Legally-Binding Instrument, please do so here or by sending the FAO a comments via contacts at the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.

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