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Protocol on Water and Health and Public Participation

Workshop for the Effective Use of the Potential of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Authorities in the Countries of the Former Soviet Union and EU in the Field of Environment and Water

01.12.2010 | WECF Project


Countries: International
Donors: German Federal Environment Agency (UBA)
Partners: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Geneva, Ministry for Environment and Forestry, Romania, Global Water Partnership
Issues: Water & Sanitation, Gender & Rights
Duration: 05/2010 - 10/2010


Background

The “Protocol on Water and Health” (PWH) is an instrument in the European region binding under international law that aims to protect public health from water caused diseases. An important principle of the PWH is unrestricted access of the public to environmental information and public participation in decision-making. The public has the opportunity and the obligation to actively participate in policy making concerning important decisions and in accessing needed information. Thereby non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are an important link between the public and the authorities. The rights of the public can be put into practice by the NGOs through providing information and through lobby work. Cooperation between authorities, the public and NGOs hardly exists in many countries, especially in countries of the former Soviet Union. Thus, the potentials provided for by the PWH for the public and the NGOs are not yet effectively perceived and used.

Project

The workshop was held in Bucharest on 15 and 16 June 2010. Government representatives and NGOs from the EECCA region (Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia) involved in the implementation of the PWH shared their experiences on the issue of water and health. Totally 63 participants from 19 countries as well as from the institutions UNECE, WHO and EBRD took part and shared their approaches and methods in relation to access to information and public participation. The cooperation between authorities, the public and NGOs for the implementation of the PWH was supported. Based on the workshop’s results, a concept note about best practices in public participation was developed. The concept note is an official background paper for the “Meeting of the Parties” on 23-25 November 2010 and serves as a basis for discussion for the development of future public participation guidelines. The concept note is online available in English, Russian and French on:
http://www.unece.org/env/water/whmop2_documents.htm
.



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