Public participation in environmental protection issues


Successful protection of the environment and nature can only be achieved with the active engagement of all members of society. This engagement is realized at the level of environmentally responsible behavior in the daily life and activities of an individual, a family, or an institution. The second level of activity represents active social engagement in efforts to introduce and encourage social changes and participation in decision-making in various processes that are important for the protection of the environment and nature, and thus human society as a whole.

Since 2007, the Republic of Croatia has been a signatory to the Aarhus Convention the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making, and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, which represents the international legal framework in the field of environmental protection. The Aarhus Convention encourages transparency and accountability of public bodies, and the Convention is based on the assumption that public involvement in environmental issues will improve environmental protection. This document establishes rights related to the environment as a reliable basis for the inclusion of citizens in environmental policies and confirms our obligation to future generations. In order to achieve this, the public needs to be informed, aware, and involved in decision-making processes.

Sunce actively fulfills its strategic goals by using the tools made available by the Aarhus Convention or by empowering citizens and their associations to use them.

Thus, we exercise our rights in the following fields:

Access to information initiation and monitoring of procedures for the simple and timely obtaining of environmentally important information.

Public participation involvement in the procedures for assessing the environmental impact of a project or when adopting general acts and plans that may have an impact on the environment, and monitoring the results of such participation.

Access to justice preparation and initiation of strategic lawsuits against decisions concerning the environment, which we believe threaten the right to a healthy environment.

The aforementioned activities are coordinated by Sunce’s department of environmental law, and in their implementation, we cooperate with other environmental associations of civil society at the local and international level, civil initiatives, individuals, and the Ombudsman of the Republic of Croatia.