AKIPRESS.COM - Addressing local environmental issues through public participation and implementing the Aarhus Convention were the focus of a two-day roundtable discussion in Talas, organized by the Bishkek Aarhus Centre with the support of the OSCE Centre in Bishkek on June 17, and bringing together 30 representatives of civil society, state environmental agencies and the local authorities.
Participants discussed ways to address mining issues and improve the local investment climate while respecting environmental safety. The Aarhus Centre presented its development strategy with the aim of raising awareness among local stakeholders on the instruments established by the Convention to effectively address environmental issues.
“Implementing the OSCE commitments related to the three pillars of the Aarhus Convention, namely access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice on environmental matters, will help Kyrgyzstan walk the right path towards sustainable development,” said Edoardo Da Ros, Economic and Environmental Officer at the OSCE Centre. “Examples from other OSCE countries demonstrate that the Aarhus Centres and the implementation of the Convention can play a terrific role in finding common ground between local communities and the state authorities on the exploitation of natural resources.”
Adel Nurbekov, Director of the Aarhus Centre in Bishkek, said: “Environmental rights, including participation in public decision-making, introduced by the Aarhus Convention in 2001, are little known to the public and even among civil society organizations. We therefore found it necessary to inform civil society and local authorities about the possibilities established by the Convention to legally address environmental issues.”
The discussion is part of the OSCE Centre’s project on promoting environmental security through dialogue and enhanced disaster risk reduction. Similar events will take place across Kyrgyzstan in the coming months to support dialogue on environmental issues at the national and local levels.