Participatory Governance

Supporting civil society

Three major multiannual projects, providing support to environmental civil society organisations (CSOs) and funded by the Government of Sweden, were launched in 2012: the SECTOR project in Belarus and Moldova; the SENiOR-A project in Albania; and SENSE in Serbia. The goal of all three projects is to strengthen the role of environmental CSOs by contributing to their development, improving their knowledge, skills and capacities, and facilitating networking. Grant schemes have been launched and capacity-building activities implemented with the active involvement of local stakeholders.

Capacity building

Activities related to the Aarhus Convention were carried out in the framework of projects funded by the ENVSEC Initiative and a project funded by Germany. A series of trainings in SEE helped to build the capacity and skills of local municipal officials on designing and applying participatory approaches in on-going decision-making processes in the fields of urban planning, environmental impact assessment, permitting and strategic environmental assessment.

Via trainings for judges, prosecutors and NGOs, the REC built knowledge on access to justice issues, on the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice and the Aarhus Compliance Committee, and good practice examples. In a series of roundtable meetings, representatives of authorities, the judiciary and civil society discussed access to justice and identified major barriers and possible ways to overcome them. 

Technical assistance and capacity building were provided for authorities and operators obliged to implement the requirements of the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs) and for civil society in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia. This included stakeholder dialogue, a seminar in a pilot cement factory, meetings with operators to discuss reporting procedures, training for NGOs, and the preparation of local-language guidance materials.

Nuclear safety

The REC contributed to working groups and task forces under the Aarhus Convention and the European “Aarhus Convention and Nuclear” process and was involved in the establishment of the independent network Nuclear Transparency Watch (including CSOs, trade unions, academics and think-tanks). The network aims to increase the transparency of nuclear activities and the engagement of civil society in order to achieve a high level of nuclear safety in the EU following the Fukushima accident. The network will monitor the development of nuclear issues in Europe and the implementation of the EU Radioactive Waste Directive and Nuclear Safety Directive, and will develop the expertise of civil society on nuclear safety at local, national and European level.

 

GIVING VOICE: Improving public participation and building knowledge and capacities enables constructive dialogue between civil society and government officials
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