Public Participation and Awareness
- Public participation – genuine involvement in decision-making
- The Aarhus Convention – A Milestone in Public Participation
- What the Countdown partners are doing
It is essential to bring civil society and stakeholders into intergovernmental decision-making and create new opportunities for innovative partnerships for the environment. Public participation in environmental decision making is a precondition to good governance, and to improving the quality of life.
In 1998, 36 European Governments and the European Community have signed the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the “Aarhus Convention”) - the document which marked a new road towards democracy, openness and justice.
For environmental organisations, despite the weaknesses, the Aarhus Convention is a step towards building societies where citizens can play, and are encouraged to play, a constructive role in protecting peoples health and the environment. And even more: to contribute to environmentally sustainable development. The whole preparatory period for the new Convention was a unique possibility to work together with NGOs, Governments and International Institutions on equal basis and had demonstrated a great openness for NGO involvement. This openness and fruitful co-operation between different stakeholders continues nowadays when the Aarhus Convention has become a law. And so does our Public Participation Campaign. Only the aim of the Campaign now is a bit different.