The project ‘Public participation in environmental public hearing procedures during pandemic conditions’ began with implementation on June 1, 2020 in cooperation between the Association BIOM (project leader) and the Croatian Association of Experts in Environmental and Nature Protection (partner). The main objective of the project is to support the continuity of public hearings, in particular presentation to the public related to the appropriate assessment (, environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment, in these times when public gathering is still not allowed. Moreover, the project will guide better implementation of public participation in mentioned processes.
The project is co-financed by the Active Citizenship Fund in Croatia as part of the European Economic Area and the Norwegian Financial Mechanisms in 2014. – 2021. financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The main objective of the Programme at European Union level is to “strengthen civil society and active citizenship and empower vulnerable groups.”
Public participation in environmental decision-making is one of the most important mechanism of environmental protection. Particular attention is given to the environmental impact assessment procedures – EIA (including strategic environmental assessment – SEA) and Appropriate Assessment, which include public participation through public inquiry (public access to documentation and public hearing). This project would attempt to create a framework for the smooth implementation of the public consultation process in environmental decision-making in emerging conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The beneficiaries of the project are primarily general public and interested public in environmental procedures, then the public sector (Ministry of Environment and Energy, representatives of local government and self-government), business sector (practitioners who develop studies in environmental protection procedures and investors), civil sector (NGOs operating in the field of nature and environment protection). This project can also provide a framework for the long-term improvement of the public’s involvement in environmental decision-making.
The main impact of the project is to enable transparent and effective public participation, especially when talking about public hearing in pandemic conditions.