Successful implementation of the EU funded project “The right of the BiH citizens to a healthy environment”

The final event of the EU funded project “The right of the BiH citizens to a healthy environment” was organised as a round table discussion under the title ‘Challenges related to institutionalization of Aarhus Convention at local level’ in Doboj on 13 June 2012.

The main objectives of the round table were to present activities implemented and results achieved within the project as well as to initiate dialogue and exchange of experiences between representatives of public administration, civil society organisations and experts about potentials for institutionalization of the Aarhus Convention at local level in BiH.

The Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Europe, known as the Aarhus Convention, was signed on 25 June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus. The Aarhus Convention grants the public rights regarding access to information, public participation and access to justice, in governmental decision-making processes on matters concerning the local, national and trans-boundary environment. It focuses on interactions between the public and public authorities.

The representative of the EU Delegation to BiH, Mr. Johann Hesse, Head of the Operation Section for Economic Development, Natural Resources, Infrastructure, said in his opening remarks: “EU supports all efforts to environmental protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina and proactive participation of citizens in related decision-making in a way as designed in the Aarhus Convention. This project is one of success stories in improving that practice”.

The project team supported the local administrations of Lukavac and Derventa Municipalities to create waste management plans with public participation and in accordance with citizens’ needs. Introduction of the mechanisms for implementation of Aarhus Convention was further supported by providing the technical assistance related to participation in environmental decision-making to the interested local NGOs.

During discussion, it was concluded that this project provided valuable experiences and good practices related to implementation of the Aarhus Convention in BiH. These practices certainly contribute to the development of BiH’s environmental standards and their harmonization with European standards.

The project “The right of the BiH citizens to a healthy environment” was funded by the European Union from the Instrument for the Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) in the amount of 65,556 EUR. The project was co-funded by the Derventa and Lukavac Municipalities and implemented by the Centre for Management, Development and Planning MDP Initiatives Doboj in partnership with Association for Protection of Flora and Fauna Lukavac. Partners in the project were the BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations / Department of Environmental Protection and the Regional Environmental Centre.