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Meeting Public Participation in Decision-Making in the Nuclear Domain 12 and 13 March 2013

WECF facilitated WECF facilitated the group on taking due account of the outcomes of public participation in decision making on nuclear issues

03.04.2013 |WECF

On 12 and 13 March 2013 a joint event under the auspices of the Aarhus Convention’s Task Force on Public Participation in Decision-making, the Association Nationale des Comités et Commissions Locales d’Information (ANCCLI) and the European Commission was held in Luxembourg. Find the official agenda here and the more detailed programme and more information here.

The first day started with an overview of the recent and upcoming developments in European Union legislation. The relevant departments of the European Commission presented the information and transparency provisions of the respective Directives, in particular 2009/71/Euratom and 2011/70/Euratom. The aim of the revised EIA Directive COM (2012)628  will be to make decision-making more transparent and effective. One example is the introduction of time frames of between 30 to 60 days for consulting the public. Furthermore, the general problem of the non-application of the Aarhus Convention under the Euratom was highlighted.

The first session dealt with the key outcomes of the ANC (Association National Comités) Roundtables on Aarhus and nuclear issues. A common issue is the safety vigilance since nuclear accidents do not respect borders. In 2008, ANCCLI and the EC started to assess the concrete implementation of the Aarhus Convention in the nuclear domain and they started to involve a broad range of stakeholders, in particular through 4 roundtables. Further national initiatives were launched. The results of these roundtables were presented.

The second session was held in the open space format and good practices as well as challenges encountered in implementing the Aarhus Convention in the nuclear domain were discussed, e.g. identifying and notifying the public concerned, confidentiality and effective access to all information relevant to decision-making and the role of project developers in carrying out public participation.

WECF facilitated the group on taking due account of the outcomes of public participation. The main discussion evolved around the differences between EU and non-EU countries, questions about the legislation and its implementation, the practice of the EC regarding public consultations. However, no real practical mechanisms are in place and practiced by parties. This was identified as the key obstacle. Furthermore, WECF partner from Kazakhastan Kaisha Atakhanova (Director of the Social EcoFund) and from Ukraine Oksana Maiboroda (EcoClub) participated actively and provided valuable insight and experiences from the region.

Session 3 was dedicated to an open consultation on the Aarhus Convention’s draft Recommendations on Public Participation in Decision-Making. Comments are welcome until 15. April.

Further sessions dealt with roundtables at national levels and the future of the EC and ANCCLI as well as the cooperation with the Aarhus Convention. Participants agreed to continue this important process.

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