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A regional workshop on access to justice in environmental matters was organized by the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities in Tbilisi, Georgia on 19-20 February 2015.
The workshop brought together high-level judges and representatives from National Judicial Training Centres from the South Caucasus and Eastern Europe.
Participants learnt about the procedural requirements for implementing the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention). They also discussed and shared best practices as well as the challenges in implementing the “access to justice” pillar of the Convention.
“We are committed to establish better environmental governance in Georgia. We see the future of Georgia as a country where human rights, including environmental rights are protected, where civil society has strong sense of justice,” said Maia Bitadze, Deputy Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, as she opened the workshop. She also underlined the role of the Aarhus Centre in Georgia in strengthening environmental democracy in the country.
The Chair of the Task Force on Access to Justice of the Aarhus Convention, as well as experts from Belgium and Ukraine were among the trainers.
Representatives of the judiciary from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine participated in the workshop. It was organized in close co-operation with the Aarhus Convention Secretariat of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and was funded by the Government of Norway.
The OSCE has been supporting the implementation of the Aarhus Convention since 2002 including through its network of 57 Aarhus Centres in 14 countries.