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Public participation provisions

Article 2 : DEFINITIONS

6. “Strategic environmental assessment” means the evaluation of the likely environmental, including health, effects, which comprises the determination of the scope of an environmental report and its preparation, the carrying-out of public participation and consultations, and the taking into account of the environmental report and the results of the public participation and consultations in a plan or programme;

8. “The public” means one or more natural or legal persons and, in accordance with national legislation or practice, their associations, organizations or groups.

Article 3 : GENERAL PROVISIONS

2. Each Party shall endeavour to ensure that officials and authorities assist and provide guidance to the public in matters covered by this Protocol.

3. Each Party shall provide for appropriate recognition of and support to associations, organizations or groups promoting environmental, including health, protection in the context of this Protocol.

7. Within the scope of the relevant provisions of this Protocol, the public shall be able to exercise its rights without discrimination as to citizenship, nationality or domicile and, in the case of a legal person, without discrimination as to where it has its registered seat or an effective centre of its activities.

Article 5 : SCREENING

3. To the extent appropriate, each Party shall endeavour to provide opportunities for the participation of the public concerned in the screening of plans and programmes under this article.

4. Each Party shall ensure timely public availability of the conclusions pursuant to paragraph 1, including the reasons for not requiring a strategic environmental assessment, whether by public notices or by other appropriate means, such as electronic media.

Article 6 : SCOPING

3. To the extent appropriate, each Party shall endeavour to provide opportunities for the participation of the public concerned when determining the relevant information to be included in the environmental report. 

Article 7: ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT

2. The environmental report shall, in accordance with the determination under article 6, identify, describe and evaluate the likely significant environmental, including health, effects of implementing the plan or programme and its reasonable alternatives. The report shall contain such information specified in annex IV as may reasonably be required, taking into account:

(a) Current knowledge and methods of assessment;

(b) The contents and the level of detail of the plan or programme and its stage in the decision-making process;

(c) The interests of the public; and

(d) The information needs of the decision-making body.

Article 8 : PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

1. Each Party shall ensure early, timely and effective opportunities for public participation, when all options are open, in the strategic environmental assessment of plans and programmes.

2. Each Party, using electronic media or other appropriate means, shall ensure the timely public availability of the draft plan or programme and the environmental report.

3. Each Party shall ensure that the public concerned, including relevant non-governmental organizations, is identified for the purposes of paragraphs 1 and 4.

4. Each Party shall ensure that the public referred to in paragraph 3 has the opportunity to express its opinion on the draft plan or programme and the environmental report within a reasonable time frame.

5. Each Party shall ensure that the detailed arrangements for informing the public and consulting the public concerned are determined and made publicly available. For this purpose, each Party shall take into account to the extent appropriate the elements listed in annex V.

Article 10 : TRANSBOUNDARY CONSULTATIONS

4. Where such consultations take place, the Parties concerned shall agree on detailed arrangements to ensure that the public concerned and the authorities referred to in article 9, paragraph 1, in the affected Party are informed and given an opportunity to forward their opinion on the draft plan or programme and the environmental report within a reasonable time frame.

Article 11 : DECISION

2. Each Party shall ensure that, when a plan or programme is adopted, the public, the authorities referred to in article 9, paragraph 1, and the Parties consulted according to article 10 are informed, and that the plan or programme is made available to them together with a statement summarizing how the environmental, including health, considerations have been integrated into it, how the comments received in accordance with articles 8 to 10 have been taken into account and the reasons for adopting it in the light of the reasonable alternatives considered.

Article 12 : MONITORING

2. The results of the monitoring undertaken shall be made available, in accordance with national legislation, to the authorities referred to in article 9, paragraph 1, and to the public.

Article 15 : RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

The relevant provisions of this Protocol shall apply without prejudice to the UNECE Conventions on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context and on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.

Annex V : INFORMATION REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 8, PARAGRAPH 5

1. The proposed plan or programme and its nature.

2. The authority responsible for its adoption.

3. The envisaged procedure, including:

(a) The commencement of the procedure;

(b) The opportunities for the public to participate;

(c) The time and venue of any envisaged public hearing;

(d) The authority from which relevant information can be obtained and where the relevant information has been deposited for examination by the public;

(e) The authority to which comments or questions can be submitted and the time schedule for the transmittal of comments or questions; and

(f) What environmental, including health, information relevant to the proposed plan or programme is available.

4. Whether the plan or programme is likely to be subject to a transboundary assessment procedure.


© United Nations Economic Commissions for Europe – 2013