On Thursday, April 6, 2017. The BIOM and Sunce Association held a seminar on “Public participation in environmental procedures” at Hotel Panorama in Zagreb.
The participants of the seminar were representatives of county administrative departments responsible for environmental protection, environmental organizations with experience in participating in numerous environmental procedures, representatives of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy, Croatia’s Environmental and Nature Agencies. The seminar presents the results of the research on the implementation of the legal obligations related to the participation of the public at the county level. The experiences of the counties, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy and the Croatian Environmental and Nature Agencies were also presented with regards to the implementation of the eco-network acceptability assessment and public participation in these procedures. We heard from the Office of the Ombudsman about cases related to environmental issues. Sunce and BIOM presented their experiences of participating in environmental proceedings in court while WWF Adria and Green Istria presented the results of the analysis of the legislative framework for public participation in environmental impact assessment procedures and strategic environmental impact assessments.
We were extremely excited about the counties’ response and expressed interest in the seminar topic. Namely, the seminar was attended by representatives of 12 counties from Croatia.
Through cross-sectoral co-operation, recommendations were made to improve public participation and public interest in environmental procedures, implementation of environmental procedures and the work of committees. In particular, the need to improve the work of the Commission in the environmental impact assessment procedures has been established.
A clean and healthy environment and a preserved nature are of interest to each of us. At the same time, they are increasingly exposed to different projects. The environment can not represent itself, and the role of environmental attorneys is often taken over by citizens through public participation.
On the other hand, public participation and especially the local population brings a whole list of advantages from decision-making, support to the local population, and avoiding conflicts. We expect the recommendations to be made as soon as possible and implemented with the aim of achieving effective environmental protection and in particular the protection of the ecological network as part of the Natura 2000 network of protected European Natura 2000 sites.
The seminar was held under the IPA “Responsible for nature” Project. The project is funded by the European Union and co-financed by the Office for Governmental organizations and supported by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy.