“Environmental human rights: challenges and perspectives”
Topics of discussions, issues and presentations
- Opening: Olena Kravchenko, Executive Director of EPL, Sandor Fulop, Executive Director of Guta Association, Dmytro Skrylnikov, Bureau of Environmental Investigation.
- Presentation of participants and their expectations.
- International and Regional Issues (Plenary Presentations):
- War and the environment:
- international environmental law in occupied territories
- environmental consequences of military conflicts
- EIA and SEA:
- cases at the Espoo Implementation Committee and Aarhus Compliance Committee
- legislative reform of EIA and SEA schemes in countries with Environmental Expertiza and EIA system.
- Access to justice:
- strategic litigation
- barriers in access to justice
- education of judges.
- Perspectives of institutional development of the Association: mission and essence of existence, goals, strategic plan of functioning.
- Mechanisms of operational management: governance bodies, their accountability, methods of distance voting, mechanisms of taking operational decisions, quarterly and annual reports, membership: procedure, associate and full membership, physical and legal entities, etc.
- Organizational issues of GUTA Association: the procedure of gaining full and associate membership, the procedure of depriving of the membership in the Association, consideration of applications for membership, discussion of amounts and types of membership fees for physical and legal entities (if members of the Association find them appropriate), the procedure of paying membership fee, the procedure of paying debt membership fee, discussion of the procedure of election of governance bodies and qualities of the executive director.
- Consideration of candidates for governance bodies.
- course of international environmental law
- creation of sites of the Association in social networks: Facebook, Twitter
- other proposals regarding joint activities according to analysis of questionnaires of participants of the Association and discussions during the first day.
- Future activities of Guta Association, next Guta conference.
List of participants
- Yelyzaveta Alekseyeva Ukraine
- Merab Barbakadze Georgia
- John Bonine USA
- Sandor Fulop Hungary
- Rodica Iordanov Moldova
- Hanna Khomechko Ukraine
- Olena Kravchenko Ukraine
- Natalia Kravciuk Moldova
- Natalia Kuts Ukraine
- Elena Laevskaya Belarus
- Halyna Levina Ukraine
- Serhiy Magonov Belarus
- Olha Melen’-Zabramna Ukraine
- Kateryna Norenko Ukraine
- Marta Pankevych Ukraine
- Svitlana Romanko Ukraine
- Valentin Rosca Moldova
- Marta Ruda Ukraine
- Fe Sanchis-Moreno Spain
- Oleksiy Shumilo Ukraine
- Sofiya Shutiak Ukraine
- Ludwig Skochynskyi Ukraine
- Dmytro Skrylnikov Ukraine
- Steve Stec Hungary
- Petro Testov Ukraine
- Magda Toth Nagy Hungary
- Ilya Trombitskyi Moldova
- Serhiy Varlamov Ukraine
- Oleksiy Vasyliuk Ukraine
- Borys Vasylkivskyi Ukraine
- Iryna Voytiuk Ukraine
- Alla Voytsykhovska Ukraine
- Serhiy Vykhryst Ukraine
- Taras Zhyravetsky Ukraine
We the participants of Association of Environmental Law of the Central / Eastern Europe and Newly Independent States (GUTA Association);
Having gathered together in Zhdeniyevo, Ukraine, in the Carpathian Mountains where the first Guta Conference took place in 1995;
Renewing the Guta Association to carry on the memory of Professor Svitlana Kravchenko, who was striving to give the second life to the Association because she clearly realized that development of regional cooperation in the field of reforming and enforcing joint interests for protection of human rights and the environment is as topical as ever. In the 21st century environmental lawyers face new challenges in the sphere of environmental protection and human rights. Currently it is very important to create a more favorable legal environment for civil society of the countries striving for the EU membership, to raise awareness of civil society institutions and citizens of importance of application of strategic litigation for protection of their rights, to increase effectiveness of legal protection of environmental rights through systematic changes. It is possible to reach these results through experience exchange among environmental lawyers of the EU, US and other countries, and those countries in the region that are on the way to joining European community, through development of joint strategies for overcoming new challenges and realization of new perspectives. The Guta Association played and can play an important role in the process.
With the aim to give new breath to the Association and promote practical application of declared intentions, the conference organized by the Association, adopted the following resolutions:
1. Along with the human misery and suffering, we abhor the damage to the environment that occurs during wartime. It is necessary to gather evidence and to assess the situation on the ground during conflict as far as it is possible and safe, so that there can be reconciliation and justice after the cessation of hostilities. This must be done with respect to damage to the environment, as well as to other violations of humanitarian law. We therefore call upon the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to reconfirm and strengthen its mandate to work in the field of environment and security, in particular by authorizing and providing the necessary means for its observers in conflict situations to gather evidence concerning environmental damage. We further request EPL to write on behalf of the Guta Association and of the other meeting participants to present this Resolution to the OSCE.
2. We call upon the international community to further develop the international legal regime concerning refugees, by recognizing that humans are frequently forced to flee their homes due to environmental degradation or ecological catastrophe, and may suffer hardships comparable to persons persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion as provided in the definition from 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. These persons are not economic migrants but are “ecological refugees” and their plight should be addressed through a protocol to the 1951 convention or other legally binding instrument.
3. We call upon the Governments of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia to quicken their harmonization of legislation with the European Union acquis communautaire in the environmental field, and urge the countries together with the European Commission to establish a comprehensive mechanism of preliminary review of draft laws and regulations aimed at the transposition of the EU acquis.
4. We endorse the outcomes of our group discussion on access to justice, and authorize the moderator of the session on access to justice to present the outcomes towards the Aarhus Convention Access to Justice Task Force.