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Collection of e-access to information, e-participation and e-justice cases



Case study analyses

Article 5, paragraph 3 of the Aarhus Convention states that “Each Party shall ensure that environmental information progressively becomes available in electronic databases which are easily accessible to the public through public telecommunications networks.” Since 1998, when the convention was adopted and opened for ratification, the information society and telecommunications networks have developed enormously.

We now face technological challenges, and have at our disposal interactive devices, that could scarcely have been imagined 10 years ago. As a result of the modelling, predicting, sensing and monitoring made possible through information and communications technologies (ICT), individuals are better informed and are able to make better decisions and exercise greater control. Today, ICT enables citizens to participate rather than simply being passive subjects. Tools such as e-Government and e-Administration not only make governments more efficient, but enable and encourage the inclusion and involvement of everyone, not simply those who found it difficult to participate using the “old” means.

The goal of the present study was to investigate how efficiently modern technology and applications are being used to promote and spread environmental information as well as to provide options for public participation in the environmental decision-making process.

Distribution of articles

Concerning the distribution of case studies among the articles of the convention, Article 5: Collection and Dissemination of Environmental Information is the best represented in our collection of case studies through 11 fully developed cases and an additional five reference cases. Article 7: Public Participation Concerning Plans, Programmes and Policies Related to the Environment is also well represented (seven fully developed cases and three reference cases). Fewer case studies were received in relation to the implementation of Article 6: Public Participation in Decision Making (three fully developed cases and one reference case) and Article 8: Public Participation during the Preparation of Laws and Regulations (two fully developed cases and two reference cases). We were unable to find any representative cases related to the provisions on access to justice.

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