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REC Public Participation Programme


The Public Participation Programme's mission is to support and facilitate access to information, public participation in environmental decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters through capacity building, networking, legal and policy analysis and assistance to various stakeholders.


Public participation is a prerequisite for successful policy and decision-making and is a precondition for transparent, open and democratic governance.

Citizens have a right to voice their concerns in matters affecting them. Participation helps to create more informed government decision-making by incorporating diverse opinions, values and ideas and by resulting in direct, immediate knowledge of the environmental conditions from the community and citizens. Public involvement improves the quality of decision-making, raises citizen awareness of environmental issues and increases public understanding of projects involved in the decision-making. It also helps to defuse conflict or opposition to particular government actions and builds broad-based consensus for environmental programmes and more support for their implementation.

The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) adopted in June 1998 is a key international legal instrument supporting these goals.

Target Groups

The Public Participation Programme serves the needs of all stakeholders involved in environmental issues: governments, NGOs, businesses and the public in the CEE region. The programme serves various stakeholders by different means.

Projects and Services

The Public Participation Programme has been a core activity of the REC since 1990. It undertakes projects aimed at education, public awareness raising, capacity building and training, grants, networking on the regional level, as well as providing legal and policy analysis and assistance to various stakeholders. Examples of our activities include the following:

  • supporting and facilitating the early ratification and implementation of the Aarhus Convention in CEE countries through capacity building, networking, legal and policy analysis and assistance;
  • promoting initiatives under the Aarhus Convention, including contribution to the development of a legally binding instrument on PRTRs;
  • contributing to the preparation of a Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) under the Espoo Convention on Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment;
  • contributing to the implementation strategy for the Aarhus Convention in Southern European countries by promoting transparency, participation and dialogues with civil society groups;
  • improving the efficiency of government decision-making through a more strategic, institutional and practical approach in light of the implementation of the Aarhus Convention; and
  • developing training programmes and disseminating good practices of CEE and Western countries.

Contact Information

The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe
Ady Endre út 9-11 
2000 Szentendre

Magda Toth Nagy
Head of Public Participation Programme
Tel.: (36-26) 504-053 
Fax: (36-26) 311-294

Kaidi Tingas
Project Manager

Orsolya Szálasi
Project Manager

Related on-line resources

Aarhus Convention

The Aarhus Convention: An Implementation Guide

Public Participation in Making Local Environmental Decisions (Newcastle Handbook)

Public participation and sustainable development

Espoo Convention on Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment


Promoting Environmental Mediation

Improving the Practices of Public Participation

Capacity Building for Cleaning up Pollution Hot Spots of the Danube River Basin

Public Awareness and the Aarhus Convention in EECCA Countries

Publications of the Public Participation Programme

Stakeholder Involvement in the Sava River Basin
- Sava River Basin Initiative
- REC Project

Projects of the Public Participation Programme

Contact us

Related on-line resources

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